Tomson Highway explores life through laughter in 2022 CBC Massey Lectures in Fredericton, Sept. 7 | RiseNB

Tomson Highway explores life through laughter in 2022 CBC Massey Lectures in Fredericton, Sept. 7

Cree artist Tomson Highway will deliver this year’s CBC Massey Lectures to audiences across Canada in the series’s first live event since 2019.

The 2022 CBC Massey lectures are titled Laughing with the Trickster: On Sex, Death and Accordions. The first lecture will be held at the Fredericton Playhouse on Sept. 7.

Trickster is zany, ridiculous  – and wise. The mythic figure in many First Nations tales is the ultimate, over-the-top, madcap lunatic. Here to remind us that the reason for existence is to have a blast, and to laugh ourselves silly. Ever the trickster, Tomson Highway brings his signature irreverence to an exploration of five themes central to the human condition: language, creation, sex and gender, humour, and death.

An exhilarating tour through Christian, Classical, and Cree mythologies reveals how they have given form and substance to Western thought, life, and culture. Yet Indigenous mythologies provide unique, timeless solutions to our modern problems. Tomson Highway offers generous personal anecdotes, including ones of his beloved accordion-playing father, and plentiful Trickster stories as guides through crises such as climate change, economic disparity, racial intolerance, and all-out unhappiness.

Laughter is medicine. Within the endless circle of life in Indigenous mythologies, the Earth is a garden of joy unlimited. A world we must protect as the birthright of future generations. Laugh with the legendary Tomson Highway as he illuminates a healing, hilarious way forward.

Tomson Highway

Man laughing with hand over his chin
Tomson Highway will deliver Massey Lectures in five cities beginning at the Fredericton Playhouse on Sept. 7. (Sean Howard)

TOMSON HIGHWAY is a Cree author, playwright, and musician. His memoir, Permanent Astonishment, won the 2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. He also wrote the plays The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, the bestselling novel Kiss of the Fur Queen, and the books Caribou Song, Dragon Fly Kites, and Fox on the Ice.  Tomson Highway is a member of the Barren Lands First Nation and lives in Gatineau, Quebec.

Lecture dates:

  • Sept. 7: Fredericton Playhouse, Fredericton
  • Sept. 9: D.F. Cook Recital Hall, Memorial University, St. John’s.
  • Sept. 14: Broadway Theatre, Saskatoon. 
  • Sept. 16: York Theatre, Vancouver.
  • Sept. 23: Koerner Hall, Toronto. 

Tickets will be available in the first week of August at the respective venues.  Watch for a pre-sale the week before.

Laughing with the Trickster: On Sex, Death and Accordions will be broadcast on CBC Radio’s IDEAS and CBC Listen in November 2022, and available as a book from House of Anansi Press.

The CBC Massey Lectures is a partnership between CBC, House of Anansi Press and Massey College in the University of Toronto.


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