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High-powered roster honours Connie Rooke

Michael Ondaatje and some other noted Canadian authors will stage readings at a free public event at the University of Guelph on Friday March 28 that will honour the legacy of the late Connie Rooke.
“Writing the World: the Connie Rooke Conversations” will take place in the atrium of the U of G’s new Science Complex from 7-8:30 p.m.
Rooke, who died of cancer in 2008 at the age of 65, chaired the U of G’s English department and founded the Eden Mills Writers’ festival along with her husband, fiction writer Leon Rooke. Among other things, she was also president of the University of Winnipeg and was president of PEN Canada for two terms, a news release said.
The event features readings and a conversation facilitated by novelist Catherine Bush, coordinator of the U of G’s Master of Fine Art in Creative Writing program. Along with Ondaatje and Leon Rooke, authors Susan Swann, Linda Spalding, Dionne Brand and Rosemary Sullivan will be involved.
“We’re delighted to host an event like this that honours Connie’s remarkable contributions and that also honours Guelph’s significance as the first institution in the world to teach Canadian literature. We hope to make it an annual event,” Alan Filewod, director of the U of G’s School of English and Theatre Studies, said in the release.
The first course ever taught on the subject of Canadian literature was delivered in 1907 at the Macdonald Institute, one of the U of G’s founding institutions, he said.

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