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History General


An Incorrigible History Of Alberta

by (author) Aritha Van Herk

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Oct 2002
General, Social History, Cultural
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2002
    List Price

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The fifth title in our provincial histories series, Mavericks is an idiosyncratic and episodic history of what is arguably Canada's most unconventional province. From mapmakers to ranchers, Stampede Wrestling to Stockwell Day, acclaimed writer Aritha van Herk brings the drama and combative beauty of this irascible province to stunning life.

van Herk's portrait of her home province embraces all its extremes, from deadly and spectacular weather to dinosaur graveyards, and from oil gushers and geysers to barnstorming social reformers and political haymakers. Bronc-riders of boom and bust, Alberta's people are a beguiling mixture of opinionated extremists, hardy pioneers and gentle sinners.

Alberta is a province that most Canadians simply don't understand, the province most Canadians love to hate. It is regarded as a land of reckless, redneck and ignorant individualists. But it is also the province where the Famous Five fought the landmark Person's Case, giving Canadian women the same status as men in the eyes of the law, a province that truly believes in free speech. Albertans tolerate in their midst people whose extreme views on any manner of subjects would make them outcasts elsewhere. And Albertans practice the creed of western neighbourliness, giving assiduously to charity and always lending a hand where help is needed. They are a tough, tender bunch, squinting into the wind of determined difference.

If you're an Albertan, you'll recognize yourself and your home in this book. If you're not an Albertan, this book will be an education for you. Mavericks will open your eyes to the real Alberta, as she was and is.

About the author

Aritha van Herk teaches Creative Writing, Canadian Literature and Contemporary Narrative. Her novels include Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address (nominated for the Governor General's Award for fiction), Places Far From Ellesmere (a geografictione) and Restlessness. Her critical works, A Frozen Tongue (ficto-criticism) and In Visible Ink (crypto-frictions) stretch the boundaries of the essay and interrogate questions of reading and writing as aspects of narrative subversion. With Mavericks: an Incorrigible History of Alberta (winner of the Grant MacEwan Author's Award) van Herk ventured into new territory, transforming history into a narratological spectacle. That book frames the new permanent exhibition that opened at the Glenbow Museum in 2007. van Herk is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and is active in Canada's literary and cultural life, writing articles and reviews as well as creative work. She has served on many juries, including the Governor General's Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. She is well known in the broader community of the city, the province, and the country as a writer and a public intellectual.

Aritha Van Herk's profile page

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