Our first Lettering event was the Postal Code Reading series launch with Madeleine Thien on April 15, 2014 in the Special Collections of the WAC Bennett Library at SFU. Madeleine unveiled her “seed” text – the document she created as a letter to Thursdays.
Madeleine is the current writer in residence at Simon Fraser University and is a novelist, thinker, dancer, essayist and designer. Her work expands through genres, as you can see in this website she made for the fictive world of her last novel Dogs at the Perimeter.
These multimedia impulses are clear in the process Madeleine used to confront her problems with writing a letter, one she had intended to write to her deceased mother. What she created is an actual book of accordion pages with texts, photocopies, poetic fragments, emails and objects meticulously arranged in an expansive narration. The reverse of the book – which she points out is a “chinese” book that can be read backwards or from the reverse – is at the moment blank, perhaps to be filled with writing form the Collective. We’ll see when she visits and we have a chance to discuss it collectively.
Our joint reading with Madeleine was superb. Clint Burnham from the English Department, who has also given us a seed text for the project, welcomed us warmly, acknowledging our presence on unceded Coast Salish land.
Madeleine read a text related to the book object she created.She projected images onto the screen as she read the narrative. It was spellbinding. Here is a peek inside the book.
After Madeleine read from her book Clint introduced Elee Kraljii Gardiner, who introduced readers from Thursdays Writing Collective. Several members of the Collective were in attendance to support the readers. Here are some shots of the people who read their texts of/about/prompted by letters we have looked at over the last few months. Because this was the launch of the project, these works in progress do not refer specifically to Madeleine’s seed text. We will be writing directly in response to her in the coming weeks now that we can interact with her ideas.