The University of Winnipeg



Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Robyn Maynard to headline the Axworthy Distinguished Lecture

The University of Winnipeg is excited to announce that Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer, and artist, and Robyn Maynard, artist and scholar, are the next Axworthy Distinguished Lecture Series speakers.

The two-hour event will take place Wednesday, November 9 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Riddell Hall. Reserve your free seat at the lecture today!

Simpson and Maynard co-authored the recent national bestseller Rehearsals for Living, a captivating and visionary work — part debate, part dialogue, part lively and detailed familial correspondence between two razor-sharp writers. It’s a finalist for the 2022 Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction.

“Robyn Maynard and Leanne Simpson’s epistolary exchange in Rehearsals for Living shines a light on urgent crises of the present moment — among them the ecological crisis, COVID, anti-Black and Indigenous racism, and the expendability of some lives over others,” according to Dr. Tracy Whalen, Chair of the Axworthy Distinguished Lecture Series and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts.

“But it also carefully and caringly explores how we might build new worlds while dismantling structures of oppression. Their commitment to living ‘in relation,’ one demonstrated in the book’s letter-writing, will make for a powerful conversation in the upcoming Axworthy lecture.”

Meet the speakers

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics, story, and song — bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity. 

Working for two decades as an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Simpson has lectured and taught extensively at universities across Canada and the United States, and has 20 years of experience with Indigenous land-based education. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, and teaches at the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in Denendeh. 

Simpson is the author of eight books, including A Short History of the Blockade and the novel Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, which was short listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Dublin Literary Prize.

Robyn Maynard holds the position of Assistant Professor of Black Feminisms in Canada at the University of Toronto-Scarborough in the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies. 

She is the author of Policing Black Lives: State violence in Canada from slavery to the present (Fernwood 2017). The book is a national bestseller, designated as one of the Best 100 Books of 2017 by the Hill Times, listed in The Walrus‘s Best Books of 2018, shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, the Concordia University First Book Prize, and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction. It’s also the winner of the 2017 Errol Sharpe Book Prize.

In 2018, the book was published in French with Mémoire d’encrier, titled NoirEs sous surveillance. Esclavage, répression et violence d’État au Canada. Translated by Catherine Ego, it won the 2019 Prix de libraires in the category of essais.

Read Simpson and Maynard’s full biographies.

The Axworthy Distinguished Lecture Series was established to honour Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President of The University of Winnipeg from 2004 to 2014.

If you’re unable to attend, but want to support the Axworthy Distinguished Lecture Series, click here to make a donation. Donations and proceeds from all meet-and-greet purchases are directed to future lectures and will go a long way in ensuring this series remains accessible to our community.

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