News: 2 Tributes to Robert Kroetsch

2011-07-04 18:11:PM ago by laurie.anne.fuhr

Flywheel, Writers Guild announce events

Two tribute evenings have been announced so far in Calgary for Robert Kroetsch.

filling Station presents a Special July Flywheel: Tribute to Robert Kroetsch
Thursday July 14, 7:00 pm*
Pages Books on Kensington, 1135 Kensington Road NW, Calgary

*Please note earlier than usual start time.

This special Flywheel will include both featured readings and an open mic, letting everyone share either work by Robert, for Robert, or otherwise related as a tribute and celebration of the memory of this wonderful man and important Canadian writer who has touched so many. Please note earlier start time of 7:00 pm.

Featured readers TBA. If you had a special connection with Robert Kroetsch and would like to be a feature, please email If you know anyone who should know about this, please share. I am especially hoping to hear from those who studied with him or under him.

For more information about Robert's writing and accolades, the Athabasca U bio provides an okay launching point with further links:

To visit the Facebook event, RSVP, and invite friends, click here.

Flywheel takes place the second Thursday of each month at Pages Books on Kensington.



A second tribute has just been announced by Samantha Warwick of the Writer's Guild of Alberta.

A Celebration of Life: Robert Kroetsch
Tuesday July 12, 7:00 pm
Shelf Life Books, 1302 4th Street SW, Calgary


Please RSVP to

As many of you know, Alberta literary giant, mentor, listener, teacher, and friend to hundreds of writers across the province (and country), Robert Kroetsch, was tragically killed in a car accident on Tuesday, June 21st. Many of us who attended the Writers Guild of Alberta 30th anniversary conference and awards gala in early June had the pleasure of meeting or visiting with him and celebrating his Golden Pen Lifetime Achievement Award. Over the course of his career, Kroetsch published nine books of fiction, 14 books of poetry and seven non-fiction works.

This tragedy has been a great shock to all of us at the WGA and a tremendous loss to everyone whose lives he has touched. A memorial was held in Leduc on Monday, June 27th, but many writers and friends, particularly in Southern Alberta, were not able to attend. In light of this, we would like to invite you to celebrate Robert’s life with short readings from Too Bad (or tell a story) on Tuesday July 12, 2011, 7pm at Shelf Life.

Kroetsch’s work was often set in Alberta, featuring unforgettable characters such as Hazard Lepage and his quest to preserve the bloodline of his rare blue stallion (The Studhorse Man; winner of the Governor General's Literary Award in 1969). The Globe & Mail describes this novel as “part tall tale and part mythical journey set in barns, beer halls and bathtubs and helped move Prairie fiction resolutely away from the dour realism of a previous generation of writers.” Many of his stories and poems give voice to Alberta’s cowboys, mavericks, lost souls and tumbleweeds in lively and unexpected ways, which is why we feel holding this event during the Calgary Stampede to be both ironic and fitting.

We invite anyone who would like to say a few words about Robert, or who would like to read a short passage from Too Bad, to prepare a two-minute passage and bring it with you to the event. Everyone who would like to speak will have the opportunity to put their names into a cowboy hat and over the course of the evening ten speakers’ names will be drawn. At the two-minute mark, our brave time-watcher, Suzette Mayr, will ring a cowbell (as Robert may well have done with a kind grin spread across his face).
There will be a bar and some refreshments and many of Robert’s books available, but most of all we hope to bring his friends and fans together who are just not ready to say goodbye. As long-time friend of Robert’s, Nicole Markotic, puts it—we’re hoping, with this event, to hold onto him just a little longer.

In a moving article recently published in the Edmonton Journal, author Todd Babiak wrote that at 83, Kroetsch was still the funniest, quickest, most charming man in the room; a man who always offered careful eye contact. Todd described Robert’s enthusiastic applause for each performer at the WGA’s farewell lunch and open mic at the Auburn Saloon on June 12—a scene that I will also never forget. Let us celebrate Robert Kroetsch and be grateful for all that he has given us.

We sincerely hope to see you there.

Samantha Warwick (Writers Guild of Alberta); on behalf of JoAnn McCaig (Shelf Life Books) and Friends.


If you can't make it to one of these events, please come to the other. Whether you knew Robert or his work, or didn't, you will find it wonderful to immerse yourself in his memory and his work for an evening.


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