News at the University of New Brunswick

Governor General s award winner speaking at UNB

Author: Communications

Posted on Feb 9, 2010

Category: Events

Guy Vanderhaeghe, a Fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and two-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, will give a free public lecture at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton on “Apprehending the Past: History versus the Historical Novel” on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m., at the Wu Centre, UNB. He will be introduced by writer, artist, and former Lieutenant Governor, Herménégilde Chiasson.

In the past twenty years, the historical novel has achieved popular success in English-speaking Canada and has been recognized by many prize-winning juries. Guy Vanderhaeghe will look at how this popular fiction-form has sometimes caused consternation among academic historians who view it as “bad history,” a distortion of our knowledge of the past.

Is the historical novel really an examination of the past, or a look at the present? What practical strategies do historical novelists pursue in an attempt to resolve these quandaries? These are just a couple of the questions that will be addressed by Vanderhaeghe in his lecture.

Guy Vanderhaeghe’s first collection of short stories, Man Descending, won the Governor General’s Award for fiction and the Faber Prize in Great Britain. In 1996, his novel, The Englishman’s Boy, won the Governor General’s Award and was shortlisted for both the Giller Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His 2002 novel, The Last Crossing , won CBC’s “Canada Reads,” the Canadian Booksellers’ Association Ex Libris Award for Fiction, and was a regional finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

Born in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan in 1951, Vanderhaeghe studied history before beginning a career as a writer of fiction. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a 2008 Trudeau Foundation Fellow. He is currently a professor at St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan.

The lecture and the public reception that will follow are both sponsored by the Trudeau Foundation. Each year the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation selects five Fellows who have contributed to the enhancement of knowledge and the advancement of society through leading-edge research, creative work, and commitment to societal debates on major issues of public policy. All members of the public are invited. Free parking is available behind the Wu Centre.

For more information, or to set up an interview, contact Bettina Cenerelli at 514-465-7233, or


Natasha St. Pierre, Communication Officer (506) 458-7969