The E.J. Pratt Lecture

Dedicated to fostering the public appreciation of the literary arts, the Pratt Lecture is the oldest public lecture at Memorial University. Past lecturers include George Elliott Clarke, Dionne Brand, Northrop Frye, Terry Eagleton, Ursula LeGuin, Alberto Manguel, and Anne Carson.

2023 EJ Pratt lecture 

It Takes a Village: Spinning the Collective Yarn
April 22 @ 6pm | Signal Hill Campus

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of English are thrilled to announce that Peter Balkwill, co-founder of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop in Calgary, will be giving the 2023 Pratt Lecture. 

Peter Balkwill

The Old Trout Puppet Workshop is an avant-garde collective whose puppetry recalls that of Czech greats like Jiri Trinka: astonishing, inventive, subversive, hilarious work. The Trouts' shows include The Unlikely Birth of Istvan and Famous Puppet Death Scenes, which has been touring Europe for the past few months and getting rave reviews.

Peter is also an assistant professor at the University of Calgary in the School of Creative and Performing Arts and the Co-Artistic Curator of the Festival of Animated Objects in Calgary, Alberta.

The 2023 lecture

Balkwill's lecture will focus on the collaborative process through which we discover our singular stories. He will argue that sharing oral traditions is the best means to blaze pathways to performance.

Every day we tell stories, and listen to them, in countless exchanges with people in all walks of life. Not all of the stories we tell are ours. Our stories are raised up from the communities that are our people, and they are added to the words that end up making us who we are.

How do we find the ones that let us land here and now?


2023 Pratt Lecture book for sale

Local publishing house Breakwater Books recently began publishing our EJ Pratt lectures iin book form. See books from past lecturers:

They will have a copy of Peter Balkwill's It Takes a Village: Spinning the Collective Yarn book for sale at the event, and it can also be purchased on their website


Past Lectures

The annual Pratt Lectures are published in pamphlet form and are available from the Department office.

Past Pratt Lectures