Keynote Address: Discovering the Art of Newfoundland
This talk will explore the visual and literary art of Newfoundland after Confederation with Canada, how an island imagines itself into being through stories, theatre and visual art.
Lisa Moore one of Canada’s most important contemporary writers, the author of both short stories and novels. She has been nominated for the prestigious Giller Prize three times, is the winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and has been long listed for the Man Booker Prize.
Moore’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including two collections produced by The Burning Rock: Extremities (1994) and Hearts Larry Broke (2000). Her first collection of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness, was published in 1995. In this collection, Moore establishes her ability to combine and contrast extreme emotion with everyday triviality, a technique she perfects in her Giller Prize-nominated collection, Open. Published in 2002, Open won the Canadian Authors Association Jubilee Award for Short Stories and established Moore as a strong new voice in Canadian fiction. The stories of Open merge the mundane with the poignant, as characters contemplate love affairs, past mistakes, and missed opportunities while washing dishes or absently admiring the “ketchup screaming on the white plate” of a cold meal.
Alligator, Moore’s first novel, was published in 2005 and was also nominated for the Giller Prize. In 2006, the novel won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Caribbean and Canada region. Once again, Moore combines the seemingly arbitrary with physical and emotional extremes to produce a compelling and complete rendering of contemporary St. John’s and its inhabitants. The multiple plot lines tell the stories of a rebellious teenager, a young hotdog vendor, a Russian castaway, a dying filmmaker, and several others.
Moore’s second novel, February (2013), was among thirteen candidates nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The book centers on the life of a woman in her mid-50s, Helen, who was shattered decades earlier when her husband, Cal, drowned in the sinking of the Ocean Ranger off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1980s. Moore’s most recent novel, Caught (2013), was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. Whereas February is lyrical, meditative, and atmospheric, Caught is a fast-paced adventure novel. Set in the 1970s, it tells the story of David Slaney, a recently escaped convict who decides to make a second attempt at smuggling marijuana from Colombia to Canada.
Lisa has written for the magazines Canadian Art, Walrus, and Elle, as well as the Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Guardian. Her work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, German, and Turkish. Lisa teaches Creative Writing at Memorial University.