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Jane Urquhart’s 1993 novel Away is the seventh book that the artists of the Open Book Art Collective have read together. Away traces the lives of four generations of women across landscapes: from the rocky coasts of mid-19th century Ireland, devastated by potato blight, to the slums of Montreal,  to present-day shores of Lake Ontario. While traversing lands and histories, Away lyrically explores the complexities of our relationship to the land.

Urquhart’s characters navigate landscapes that both enchant them and prove devastatingly harsh. Away’s themes of displacement, industry and connection to the land resonate with contemporary realities of refugee crises, indigenous rights and the unfettered development that is pushing the earth to the brink of environmental collapse. As an elderly woman tells her granddaughter at the beginning of the novel, “By the time I finish this story you will have decided to hug the land — the real earth — the trees in the orchard, the timbers of this house. You will have decided never to go away.”

The broad themes of place are set alongside the intimate details of women’s lives whose stories form the heart of this narrative. These characters navigate landscapes of family, politics, race, and nation while always seeking to realize their identities as women.  “Away,” writes reviewer Tania Glyde, “is a ravishing evocation of the lives of those whose souls are irrevocably touched by nature. It is also, subtly and cunningly, about female independence.”

Away: Join our book club this fall!

Hey folks,

We are pleased to announce our next book selection, Away by Jane Urquhart.

You are invited to read Away along with us this fall. Order or borrow your book now. We will be posting discussion questions Nov- mid Dec on both our Instagram and Facebook page. Then join us for our next art show, entitled, Away, opening this January at the Langley Centennial Museum.



Introducing Our Next Book: To Love The Coming End

OBAC is pleased to announce that we will be participating in this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest. ‘To Love The Coming End’ is written by Vancouver based multidisciplinary artist Leanne Dunic and is  the first book of poetry that we are working with.

“Dunic has created a collection of tightly mapped poetic fault lines, topographies of loss and absence spanning immense yet intimate geologies, ecologies, astrologies, and geographies. To Love the Coming End insists on an eternal unearthing of memory, a return to remembering, however fleeting.”—Sarah de Leeuw, award-winning author of Geographies of a Lover and Skeena

“A lyric novel, a symphony in poetic prose, the work resides in the interstices of poetry and fiction and from this opening, traverses the fragile physiology of bonds and their ruptures.” —Aja Couchois Duncan


The Signature of All Things

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Open Book Art Collective and VanDusen Botantical Garden present: The Signature Of All Things. Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s epic novel, this art show explores 19th century botany and the convergence of science and wonder. Featuring new artwork by Open Book Art Collective Members: Andrea Armstrong, Bre McDaniel, Jenny Hawkinson, Katrina Stock, Laura Auxier, Mahla Shapiro and Kristin Voth.

Come to the opening reception and experience:
-artist talks
-the beauty of the fall gardens
-activities for children (a microscope with ferns and mosses!)

We can’t wait to see you there!

“The whole sphere of air that surrounds us, Alma, is alive with invisible attractions — electric, magnetic, fiery and thoughtful. There is a universal sympathy all around us… When we cease all argument and debate — both internal and external — our true questions can be heard and answered…That is the gathering of magic.” – The Signature of All Things

*Please note: Admittance to the show is free but you will still need to purchase tickets to go into the gardens.

Only an Inkling…

Join us for an Open Book Art Collective exhibit inspired by the works of The Inklings and their literary mentors. This show is in conjunction with the Verge Conference 2016: Arts & The Inklings hosted by The School of Art, Media, and Culture at Trinity Western University.

Click here to learn more about the conference and purchase tickets.
September 21 – Oct 17
September 29 @ 6pm | Opening Reception and Artist Talk | President’s Reception Hall, adjacent to President’s Gallery
President’s Gallery, Reimer Student Centre 2nd floor
Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Road, Langley BC
Laura Auxier, Jenny Hawkinson, Andrea Armstrong, Bre McDaniel, Katrina Stock, Kristin Voth. OBAC is pleased to have guest artists Simeon Pang, Julia Soderholm, and Melanie Colenutt join us for this exhibit!

The Inklings were a group of authors that included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams that met as an informal literary group in Oxford. They, along with early authors such as G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, and Dorothy L. Sayers shaped contemporary literature, particularly fantasy, as we know it today.