Probing the Canadian identity

- September 29, 2010

Nicolas Dickner
Author Nicolas Dickner.

What does it mean to be Canadian? Does one’s relationship with a national identity change if you grow up in a remote village in Northern Quebec or downtown Toronto?

The notion of Canadian identity is often contentious and complicated, given the sheer size of Canada and the diverse cultural makeup of our cities and towns.

For Canadian author Nicolas Dickner, identity is a central theme in his work. He often uses maps and atlases for inspiration when he is writing. With the growing popularity of online mapping tools such as Google Maps and Mapquest, it is now possible to navigate virtually any city or town in the world, from the comfort of your own home.

But how does this technology effect our perceptions of identity? This is the exact question Dickner will be addressing when he speaks in Ondaatje Hall on Wednesday, September 29. His talk, entitled “ Atlas, Territory and Navigation: Identity in the Age of Google Maps”, will address the changing way in which we view the world, and how technology has effected how he finds inspiration as a writer.

Mr. Dickner is an award-winning author, whose latest novel Nicolski won the popular CBC Radio Canada Reads contest earlier this year. He is particularly interested in themes surrounding identity, immigration and migration and in particular how these themes are effected by the information age.

Nicolas Dickner will speak on Wednesday, September 29, at 5 p.m. in Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building. He will also be giving a public reading of his work on Thursday, September 30, 7 p.m. at the Keshen Goodman Public Library.

For more information please consult the Canadian Studies website at or phone 494-2980.


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