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Canadian novel focus of course and outreach at WWU

Author Michael Christie stands at a Western Washington University podium. He wears a black hoodie and jeans. Behind him is a wooden display case with historic photos.

April 29, 2022

Michael Christie, author of Greenwood, visited WWU to speak to students and provide a writing workshop and reading.

When Whatcom Reads chose the novel Greenwood for their 2022 selection, the director of the Center for Canadian-American Studies leapt into action. Christina Keppie felt the novel would be the perfect vehicle to introduce Canadian themes to students from Western Washington University (WWU).

Keppie and Kyla Sweet, the Education and Curriculum K-12 Specialist for the Center for Canadian-American Studies, created a one-credit class centered on the book. Seventeen students enrolled in the winter quarter course. They spent ten weeks learning about Canadian geography, history, logging practices in the Pacific Northwest, and Indigenous uses of Cedar.

The course culminated in multiple events including a visit with the author on campus, an Art and Craft of Writing Seminar, and a special evening at Mt. Baker Theater moderated by Christina Keppie and attended by over 150 community members.

Plans are already underway for a 2023 version of the course with a new Canadian novel.

The Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University forms a U.S. National Resource Center on Canada with the Canadian Studies Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.