A Newfoundlander in Canada: Alan Doyle in conversation

A Vancouver Writers Fest Special Event

Monday, November 20 at 7:30pm
Norman Rothstein Theatre
950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver

Tickets (price does not include service charge)

  • General admission: $26 
  • Seniors 65+: $24 
  • Youth Under 30: $15 

Following the runaway success of his bestselling memoir, Where I Belong, Great Big Sea front man Alan Doyle discusses A Newfoundlander in Canada: a hilarious, heartwarming account of discovering Canada through the eyes of the Newfoundlander leaving home for the first time. The author shares never-before-heard stories from the band’s early touring days – including opening for Barney the Dinosaur and drinking moonshine with an elderly churchgoer in PEI – and takes the audience on a journey through the complexities of community, regionalism and the true meaning of ‘Canadianness’.

About the author:

Alan Doyle is a Canadian musician and actor, best known as a lead singer in the Canadian folk-rock band Great Big Sea. In 2012, Doyle released his first solo album, Boy on Bridge, which made the top twenty on the Canadian Albums chart. Doyle lives in St. John's, Newfoundland.

More about A Newfoundlander in Canada:

Armed with the same personable, candid style found in his first book, Alan Doyle turns his perspective outward from Petty Harbour toward mainland Canada, reflecting on what it was like to venture away from the comforts of home and the familiarity of the island.

Often in a van, sometimes in a bus, occasionally in a car with broken wipers "using Bob's belt and a rope found by Paddy's Pond" to pull them back and forth, Alan and his bandmates charted new territory, and he constantly measured what he saw of the vast country against what his forefathers once called the Daemon Canada. In a period punctuated by triumphant leaps forward for the band, deflating steps backward and everything in between—opening for Barney the Dinosaur at an outdoor music festival, being propositioned at a gas station mail-order bride service in Alberta, drinking moonshine with an elderly church-goer on a Sunday morning in PEI—Alan's few established notions about Canada were often debunked and his own identity as a Newfoundlander was constantly challenged. Touring the country, he also discovered how others view Newfoundlanders and how skewed these images can sometimes be. Asked to play in front of the Queen at a massive Canada Day festival on Parliament Hill, the concert organizers assured Alan and his bandmates that the best way to showcase Newfoundland culture was for them to be towed onto stage in a dory and introduced not as Newfoundlanders but as "Newfies." The boys were not amused.

Heartfelt, funny and always insightful, these stories tap into the complexities of community and Canadianness, forming the portrait of a young man from a tiny fishing village trying to define and hold on to his sense of home while navigating a vast and diverse and wonder-filled country.