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Storylines: Ted Chamberlin in Conversation with Wade Davis

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Upstart & Crow Studio


“Belief keeps us going,” writes veteran author Ted Chamberlin. “Doubt keeps us alive.”

Join us at Upstart & Crow on Tuesday, May 23 to hear Chamberlin’s insightful exploration of the power of stories and songs. “We draw comfort from our great myths, and from the storytelling of our contemporaries.” One of Chamberlin’s contemporaries is acclaimed author Wade Davis, and a conversation between these two master storytellers is simply not to be missed.

Their conversation will take place in our studio starting at 7 p.m. The event is free, and books will be available for purchase and signing. Please RSVP here, as capacity is limited. Thank you!

About the book:

Stories are our first and last survival strategy. For tens of thousands of years, they have told humanity what we know and what we don’t know, what to wonder about and what to watch out for. Storytelling holds us together. And sometimes it keeps us apart.

From the stories we tell children, to literary works, to pop music, stories take many forms and give shape and substance to things we believe, perpetuating ideals and identities and provoke controversy and conflict. They include explanations of the origin and purpose of things, of causes and effects and sequences of events, and of our relationships to the forces that surround us.

They also shape the institutions we establish, the ways in which we constitute ourselves as communities, and the covenants we enter into with secular as well as spiritual powers. Stories that celebrate growth and development and “civilized” progress can be a hazard when we use them to destroy Indigenous homelands and heritages and the environment.

Stories can also provide a form of resistance to the overpowering realities of the everyday, empowering our imaginations to create a sense of possibility. It is within storytelling, and by understanding how stories work, that we can find a way to bring sympathy and judgment back into the centre of our conversations about what we can — and what we must — do. Stories and songs, ours and those of others, can help us. They can save us.

About the author:

J. Edward Chamberlin is professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and was senior research associate with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. He has worked on sovereignty and land claims throughout Canada and around the world, and has spoken widely on literary, historical and cultural issues. He is the author of several acclaimed titles, including Horse: How the Horse Has Shaped Civilizations, and If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? Finding Common Ground. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and lives in Halfmoon Bay on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast.

Wade Davis is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic. Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society from 2000 to 2013, he is currently professor of anthropology and the B.C. Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. The author of 22 books, Wade is a Member of the Order of Canada, and an honorary citizen of Colombia.

More about Upstart & Crow:

Located on Granville Island, Upstart & Crow is a literary arts studio for curious readers and creative storytellers alike. We are international in our outlook, and local in our sensibilities. We create opportunities to surface new talent and champion bold ideas through events, workshops, literary launches, unique partnerships — and yes, we also sell books.


The main studio of our shop is accessible for folks with mobility aids, though there is a small mezzanine with stairs that will not be accessible. All books are on the main floor. There is a washroom on the main floor available for attendees.

Storylines: How Words Shape Our World

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