Not a “reading” recommendation so much as a “viewing” recommendation as well as an appreciation of the fine woodcut art in this very intriguing wordless graphic novel.
What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release is Written in Wood and it’s a literary graphic novel.
Quick description: A cold case from 1917, the tragic cost of the events of 9/11, and the rise and fall of a media baron. These are the themes as imagined by George Walker in his three wordless contemporary narratives — The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson, The Book of Hours and Conrad Black — told in wood engravings.
George A. Walker holds a master’s degree in communication and culture from Ryerson and York University. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2002 in recognition of his achievements in Canadian Book Arts. He is an associate professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University. Walker is the author of The Woodcut Artists’ Handbook and is recognized for his art history book on wordless novels, Graphic Witness. He lives and works in Toronto.
What are you working on now?
My latest project is the wordless narrative of the life and times of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The tentative title is Pierre Elliott Trudeau: La vie en rose. My plan is to create 80 wood engravings on Canadian end-grain maple wood and hand print them in a limited edition of perhaps 17 copies. I chose 80 for the number of engravings because he died when he was 80 years old and the number 17 because he was the 17th prime minister of Canada in his last term. Because his graphic story is still evolving in my studio, I can’t say much more except that I met with Margaret Trudeau in November in Ottawa and shared some of the images with her.
Why a wordless narrative? The poly-lingual nature of the image as text lends itself perfectly to a multi-cultural society like Canada. Trudeau was one of Canada’s most visually flamboyant characters who had a lasting impact on the culture and policies that have shaped the country I live in.
George’s reading recommendation:
May I list a few? I try and read at least 2-5 books a month. My reading list for this month has been quite long. Here are a few books that I’ve enjoyed lately or am still reading:
Memoirs by Pierre Trudeau (1993)
Unscripted: A Life Devoted to Building a Better Canada by Deborah Coyne (2013)
Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968 by John English (2007)
On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes (2013)
Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman (2014)
Shady Characters by Keith Houston (2013)