Daphne Marlatt is a true Canadian queer feminist legend, and she’s getting the recognition she deserves tonight at the Vancouver public library, where she’ll be honoured with the George Woodcock Lifetime Acheivement Award. This award is given to British Columbia literary figures, and B.C. is a place into which Marlatt has put so much of her life, personal and professional. The event starts at 7pm tonight, in the Alice MacKay room at the VPL, at 350 W. Georgia St. Admission is free! Daphne Marlatt is truly one of the most beautiful poets and writers I’ve ever read; combine this talent with her fierce commitments to feminism, queer politics, anti-racist work, and other issues, and you have one of the finest living writers period. Marlatt is best known for her 1988 novel Ana Historic (which I’ve reviewed here). It’s not an ‘easy read,’ by any stretch of the imagination, but in the novel’s complexity is where its power and beauty lie. It’s a riveting, re-imagining of an early British immigrant woman’s life on the west coast through the eyes of a contemporary woman in Vancouver, also re-imagining her life by exploring feminism and her sexuality. Marlatt also has an enormous list of poetry publications, and has additionally worked in the opera and theatre. She’s still writing, and has a collection of poetry coming out next year, titled Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now. I’d recommend Net Work: Selected Writing (1980) for a look at her earlier poetry and the later collections This Tremor Love Is (2001) and The Given (2008), which is a long poem that reads in some ways like a novel. Congratulations to Daphne Marlatt! Let’s hope she continues to write for much longer, even after this lifetime acheivement award.
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