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Burnaby library explores family stories

Film screening, workshops look at the importance of the Stories We Tell
Vera Rosenbluth
Exploring family stories: Broadcaster and author Vera Rosenbluth is leading a workshop, Finding Gold in Family Stories, at the McGill branch of Burnaby Public Library on Nov. 23.

What's so important about our family stories?

The Burnaby Public Library's McGill branch is exploring that question with a series of three events on the theme of Stories We Tell.

The first is set for Thursday, Nov. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m.

It's a screening of Sarah Polley's award-winning documentary film, Stories We Tell.

As a press release notes: "Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets behind her family of storytellers. She playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions."

The second event in the series is set for Saturday, Nov. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Broadcaster and author Vera Rosenbluth leads a workshop about interviewing your family.

"The holiday season is an ideal time in which to think about eliciting and recording stories, whether they are already well-known or never heard before," a press release notes. "We will look at the inestimable value of telling and hearing life stories, and discuss ways in which those stories can be preserved for future generations."

The third event is an Introduction to Memoir Writing, led by author Claudia Cornwall on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The workshop will cover questions such as: How do you get started? What writing exercises can you use to get creative juices flowing? What are some of the different ways you can tell a story? What if some of your family members are uncomfortable with the project? How do you balance their privacy concerns with your own desire to tell the truth?

All three events are free, but space is limited. Register online at, by calling 604-299-8955, or in person at the McGill library branch at 4595 Albert St.