West Vancouver, B.C.—The West Vancouver Memorial Library has appointed Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty as its first Climate Writer in Residence. The hire is part of the Library’s Climate Future initiative, which seeks to engage the West Vancouver community (and beyond) around the climate crisis. Lafferty will hold the position from January 3 to April 15, 2022.
Lafferty is a northern Dene novelist from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. Her memoir Northern Wildflower (Fernwood/Roseway Publishing) published in 2018 was the top-selling book in the Northwest Territories upon release and is used as a teaching tool in Indigenous literary studies across Turtle Island. Her recently released novel Land-Water-Sky/Ndè-Ti-Yat’a (Fernwood/Roseway Publishing) was placed on the Scotiabank Giller Prize Craving Canlit list and was nominated for an Indigenous Voices Award.
Having grown up in Somba K’e (Yellowknife), Lafferty currently splits her time between her northern homeland and the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples in Esquimalt, British Columbia, where she is in her third year of the Juris Doctor in Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders with the University of Victoria.
As the Climate Writer in Residence, Lafferty will give voice to the climate emergency with an Indigenous perspective, both through her writing and through planning events and workshops for Library patrons, including youth and seniors. The remainder of her time in the residency will be spent working on her own writing project.
Lafferty said, “My vision for engaging the community during the residence at the library will be to start by hosting open and interactive sharing circles with members of West Vancouver’s community, including different spaces for youth and seniors to gather input on what they hope to learn from me during the residency.” Lafferty’s introductory event will be held on Saturday, January 22, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Zoom and will include a traditional welcome, a moderated Q&A, and a reading.
WVML’s Head of Customer and Community Experience Tara Matsuzaki said, “We are looking forward to furthering our library’s work around the climate emergency with Catherine’s expertise and take it to the next level. Given the recent extreme weather events we’ve been seeing, this work feels more important than ever.”
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Sarah Barton-Bridges, Head of Communications