Surrey’s ‘Super Suburb’ status explored by writers here this weekend

City's annual Sound Thinking event at the Olympia and Surrey Art Gallery

Award-winning author M.G. Vassanji is in Surrey this weekend for 'Sound Thinking' events.

SURREY — A two-day gathering of writers this weekend will explore Surrey’s position as a “super suburb” with a growing assortment of cultural activities to offer.

The 2015 edition of the city’s Sound Thinking symposium will be held Saturday evening (Nov. 28) at Olympia Pizza & Restaurant in Whalley and Sunday afternoon (Nov. 29) at Surrey Art Gallery.

Involved are poets, authors and other artists, first at a “Literary Cabaret” at the Olympia followed by a keynote address by two-time Giller prize winner M.G. Vassanji and panel discussion at the gallery.

A “super suburb” is a phrase used to describe places inhabited by more than 250,000 people.

“Super suburbs like Surrey are sweeping the urban landscape in Canada, influencing the way writers talk about place,” reads a city-issued PSA for the event.

“Once known only as a suburb on the edge of Vancouver, Surrey is now widely recognized as a city. Urban theorists are observing this city-suburb inversion in other areas across Canada. Industrial activities, contemporary migrations and small businesses formerly concentrated in urban centres are now located in the new super suburbs that have grown on the edge of the old urban core. This change also results in a rapid increase of cultural production in the visual arts, music, theatre and literature.”

The weekend events, dubbed “Voicing the City In/verse: Reading Surrey and the Super Suburb,” are hosted by Surrey Art Gallery in partnership with South of Fraser Inter-Arts Collective (SOFIA/c) and Simon Fraser University’s English Department.

In addition to Vassanji, the events will feature writers Cecily Nicholson, Leona Gom, Kevin Spenst, Renée Sarojini Saklikar (Surrey’s inaugural poet laureate), along with John Armstrong, Sadhu Binning, Roxanne Charles, Joseph A. Dandurand, Veeno Dewan, Connor Doyle, Lakshmi Gill, Heidi Greco, Heather Haley, Taryn Hubbard, Tom Konyves, Judy MacInnes Jr., Fauzia Rafique­ and Rup Sidhu.

Convened by Phinder Dulai and Jordan Strom, “Voicing the City In/verse” is sponsored by Geist and Surrey Libraries and is presented in conjunction with Surrey Art Gallery’s 40th-anniversary show, “Views from the Southbank,” a three-part exhibition of art from and about the South of Fraser region.

Founded in 2008, Surrey Art Gallery’s Sound Thinking symposium is an annual event that brings together practitioners and professionals in the field of sound art.

Admission is free at both events this weekend. For more details, call 604-501-5566 or visit Surrey.ca/artgallery.

 

 

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