University of Calgary

Day-long celebration marks W.O. Mitchell centenary

W.O. Mitchell's family members join University of Calgary event honouring legacy of Canadian author

March 31, 2014

March 13, 2014, is the centenary of the birth of legendary author W.O. Mitchell, who was known for bringing the Canadian prairies to life in his novels Who Has Seen The Wind, The Vanishing Point, Roses are Difficult Here, his Jake and the Kid stories and stage plays such as The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon.

Today the University of Calgary's Libraries and Cultural Resources is hosting a free, public celebration of the centenary. It includes an exhibit of Mitchell's archives, which are held in Special Collections at the Taylor Family Digital Library. Guests at the event will include W.O. Mitchell's sons and daughter.

Mitchell died in 1998 but his work continues to influence aspiring writers.

"W.O. Mitchell played an important role in defining the Western Prairie landscape by creating characters familiar to readers who lived rural and small-town lives," says Annie Murray, curator of rare books and manuscripts with the University of Calgary's Libraries and Cultural Resources. "He elevated everyday experience into a newly forming body of work we now know as Canadian literature. He was an early Canadian superstar."

Grade 5 and 6 students from W.O. Mitchell School will view the archives, visit the visualization studio to see a massive digital timeline of Mitchell's life and accomplishments and make movies using digitized archival material.

University of Calgary students will compete for a $250 prize in a writing contest using typewriters and a panel of authors and historians will discuss the impact of Mitchell's work. The event concludes with a reception and screening of Who Has Seen The Wind, the film adaptation of Mitchell's classic novel.

WHAT:        W.O. Mitchell Centenary Celebration and archival exhibit       
WHERE:       Taylor Family Digital Library, University of Calgary, 410      
             University Court NW                                            
WHEN:        Thursday, March 13, 2014                                       
             9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Student writing contest - Lobby         
                                    Students from W.O Mitchell School tour  
             Noon to 1:30 p.m.      displays                                
             3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Panel discussion - Gallery Hall         
             5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Reception - Gallery Hall                
                                    Film screening - Digital Media Commons,
             7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 3rd floor                               
INTERVIEWS:  The sons and daughter of W.O. Mitchell: Orm, Hugh and Willa    
             Annie Murray, curator of rare books and manuscripts, Libraries
             and Cultural Resources                                         
             Students from W.O. Mitchell Elementary School