In collaboration with Festival Accès Asie, Pr. Cornett has invited the Canadian author and poet Pr. Priscila Uppal in one of his sessions, where participants will be invited to engage in a unique instance of literary criticism by voting and expressing opinions on Uppal’s latest book, Traumatology.
Pr. Norman Cornett is renowned for his “dialogic” sessions whereby a special encounter is created between his guest and the audience. The guest arrives at the session with no preparation other than the work of art that he or she has previously created, which serves as the starting point for the exchange.
Authors, musicians, filmmakers, politicians, and various other experts have all contributed to these sessions over the years. Pr. Cornett’s unconventional approach is based on a form of stream of consciousness, a literary technique that consists in transcribing the flow of one’s thoughts as and when they arise. The members of the participating public are invited to write—anonymously— a subjective point of view on a part of the work under review. Pr. Cornett then confronts his guest through a direct reading of these reflections.
An independent scholar and translator, Norman F. Cornett has published in several newspapers in Canada and the U.S. Advocating an unconventional approach to teaching that often challenges pre-established knowledge, Pr. Cornett has earned not only the loyalty of his students over the years but also the respect of many artists, gallery owners, filmmakers, and writers with whom he regularly exchanges.
Through “dialogic” discussions, Pr. Cornett has introduced his students to a remarkable range of artists, judges, experts, and philosophers. His guests have included former Prime Minister Paul Martin, jazz musician Oliver Jones, modern dancer and choreographer Mariko Tanabe, and Aboriginal filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, who directed Professor Norman Cornett : Since When Do We Divorce The Right Answer From An Honest Answer?, a documentary created in the wake of McGill University’s controversial decision to dismiss Pr. Cornett in 2007. In this documentary, Obomsawin pays tribute to the unorthodox teaching methods of Professor Cornett.
Priscila Uppal was born in Ottawa in 1974 and currently lives in Toronto, where she is a poet, fiction writer, academic, and professor of Humanities and English at York University. In addition to writing and teaching, Uppal regularly gives lectures and workshops on writing, literature, and multiculturalism. She also coordinates several literary events featuring artists from specific ethnic groups. Uppal has five collections of poetry and two novels, and her work has been translated into several languages including Croatian, Dutch, Greek, Korean, Italian, and Latvian. A committed poet, Uppal writes with a bold—at times irreverent—sense of humour that never overshadows the gravity of her words. She explores the tensions and dynamics between women, the nature of human violence, sexuality, multicultural clashes, mourning rituals, the dangers and benefits of the imagination, and the nature of the artistic process.
Norman Cornett – Host
Priscila Uppal – Author