Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

March 2015

March 28, 2015

I've just been reading a terrific book, The Last Asylum by Barbara Taylor. By terrific I don't mean enjoyable. Quite the opposite. The book chronicles Taylor's years of psychological distress and collapse into complete mental breakdown. It is very tough to read. Still, terrific.

Taylor is an historian, born and raised in Saskatchewan, who moved to London when she was 21 years old. It is there that the events she describes take place. The book is an account of her...

March 26, 2015

Last evening I sat through a fascinating presentation on the history of the Blair Rifle Range, a military shooting range in North Vancouver. I know, I know, it doesn't sound all that promising but I assure you that local resident Donna Sacuta has done a first-rate job of excavating the history of the site and placing it in a larger military and political context. (Her full report is ...

March 19, 2015

Sometimes events in the nation's capital can take a while to penetrate the consciousness of those of us living on the margins so I was a little slow to pick up on the controversy in Ottawa about the Harper government's imposition of a giant new monument dedicated to "the victims of communism."

The project has many strikes against it: the location of the monument, its design, its rationale. But of course it has one big thing going for it; it conforms to the government's...

March 16, 2015

I am going to be at the YWCA in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday evening (March 18) taking part in a panel at the regular meeting of the Editors Association of Canada.

The title of the event is An Evening of Eavesdropping. I am sharing the spotlight with Jenny Lee and Margo Bates. The idea is that the editors in the audience will find out what we three writers really think about editors and the editing process. (Me? Some of my best friends are editors.)

It is a free...