Gustafson Trust 2020: Gregory Scofield

Gregory Scofield reads at Vancouver Island University on February 13

VIU’s Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2019-20 will be the renowned Gregory Scofield. He will visit Nanaimo on February 12 and 13, appearing in three separate events, which culminate in the evening lecture on February 13.

Gregory Scofield is Michif of Cree, Scottish, and European-Immigrant descent.  His ancestry can be traced to  the Métis community of Kinosota, Manitoba and to Bacon Ridge, a former Métis Road Allowance Community that is now part of Ebb and Flow First Nation. He has taught Creative Writing and First Nations and Métis Literature at Laurentian University, Brandon University, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and the Alberta University of the Arts. He currently holds the position of Associate professor in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria. Scofield won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 1994 for his debut collection, The Gathering: Stones for the Medicine Wheel, and has since published seven further volumes of poetry including, Witness, I Am. He has served as writer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and most recently the Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize (2016), which is awarded to a mid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work. Further to writing and teaching, Scofield is also a skilled beadworker, and he creates in the medium of traditional Métis arts. He continues to assemble a collection of mid- to late-nineteenth century Cree-Métis artifacts, which are used as learning and teaching pieces. Scofield’s first memoir, Thunder Through My Veins< (Doubeday Canada/Anchor Books) was re-published in Fall 2019.  

Vancouver Island University will host Gregory Scofield on February 12 and 13 for a series of free events.

Public Reading

Wednesday, February 12

7:30 to 8:30 p.m., White Sails Brewing, 125 Comox Road, Nanaimo 

Reading and Q&A for Students

Thursday, February 13

10 to 11:30 a.m., Shq’apthut-A Gathering Place, Building 170, VIU’s Nanaimo campus

Distinguished Poet’s Lecture “Why Indigenous Literatures Matter"

Thursday, February 13

7 p.m., Building 355, Room 203, Vancouver Island University

How can storytelling can be used to foster miyo-wâhkôhtowin — good relationships? Scofield writes that for him, wealth is about being blessed with family and community. He describes himself as "wealthy," and credits his Aunty for having "wove[n] me back into wâhkôhtowin and the beautiful web we are all just trying to hold onto." This lecture examines, through oral storytelling, the importance of Indigenous literature and storytelling, and the ways in which knowledge is presented and accepted.

The lecture will be followed by a catered reception with cash bar.  Courtesy parking will be available in the N lots, below Building 355.


For more information, email Sonnet L'Abbe, Chair of the Gustafson Committee.

VIU is located on the unceded territories of the Snuneymuxw, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Quw’utsun peoples. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and create on this beautiful land. 

Photo provided by the artist