Convergence event explores civil discourse

A former chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and a long-time Nelson city councillor will be the two featured speakers at the 5th annual Convergence Writers’ Weekend in Silverton, B.C. June 15 and 16.

The theme of this year’s Convergence weekend is “Keeping a Civil Tongue.” Presentations will focus on how speakers and writers on all sides of controversial issues increasingly regard those who disagree with them as not only wrong-headed but evil. And most importantly, what we can do to return to a state of civil discourse. All Convergence events take place at Silverton’s Memorial Hall, 203 Lake Ave. (Highway 6).

James Hoggan

Author and PR consultant James Hoggan

Speaking at 7 p.m. June 15, at an event open to the public as well as Convergence registrants, will be James Hoggan. Besides his work for the Suzuki Foundation, Hoggan chaired Al Gore’s Climate Project Canada. His most recent book is I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up. (http://www.imrightandyoureanidiot.com) Hoggan notes that the demonizing of opponents hampers a community’s ability to solve common problems. His book identifies some approaches to counter this trend, drawing on the work of communications experts around the world.

Also presenting at the June 15 event will be Donna Macdonald, a Nelson city councillor for 19 years before retiring in 2014. Her memoir of life as a civic politician, Surviving City Hall, (http://www.harbourpublishing.com/title/SurvivingCityHall) stresses the importance of local government while emphasizing the need for truthfulness, kindness and civility in public life.

D. Macdonald crop

Donna Macdonald, veteran Nelson city councillor.

Registrants for Convergence also have the choice to attend one of two writing workshops offered during the day on June 16, as well as attending an arts performance and discussion that evening. Writing workshop leaders are Macdonald and New Denver author and performer Sean Arthur Joyce. Macdonald’s workshop, ‘Seeking and Keeping Civility,’ will closely follow the event’s theme, drawing on her two decades in public service. Joyce will get down to the nuts and bolts of writing prose in ‘From Mundane to Gripping: Mastering Prose,’ based on his 30 years’ experience as a freelance journalist, historian, poet, and more recently, novelist.

Saturday evening includes performances by Joyce, New Denver musician Noel Fudge, and Silverton/New Denver dancer Koko, as well as a discussion of the weekend’s theme by participants.

Registration is now open, at a cost of $45 plus GST. More information, including how to register, is available at http://widespot.ca/convergence-writers-weekend/

Deadline for registration is June 1. Deadline for persons wishing feedback on their writing from Joyce in his workshop is May 19. Submit a maximum of 1,000 words from a work in progress or outline for a new work.

Convergence is partially supported by the ProVision fund of the United Church’s B.C. Conference, the Columbia Basin Trust, and the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Area H director, Walter Popoff.

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About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
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