Heather Kirk Author
heather kirk, speaker
Heather Kirk, Author

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In the Spring of 2017 Borealis Press of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada published a new book by Heather Kirk titled, Seeking Peace: The Quakers. This 272-page book, illustrated with almost 100 images, traces the long existence--over 360 years--of one of the most enduring nonviolent-resistance movements in history. Seeking Peace is aimed at average adult readers as well as students in senior high school and junior college

 

In the Fall of 2016, Borealis Press reissued a book by Heather Kirk. This book is Kirk’s version of the classic Canadian novel, Wacousta, by John Richardson, the first Canadian-born novelist. Heather’s version of Wacousta was first published in 2005. The original was first published in 1832. Heather’s version is the “readable” Wacousta, about half the length of the wordy original. Wacousta is about the Pontiac Rebellion of 1763 when Native warriors led by Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa First Nation attacked a series of British forts in the North American wilderness, destroying all but one--Fort Detroit.This exciting novel has been compared to The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.

In the Fall of 2015, Dundurn Press of Toronto reissued Ringing the Changes, the autobiography of Mazo de la Roche. This new edition of de la Roche’s life story contains a 26-page introduction by Heather Kirk. De la Roche (1879-1961) was one of Canada’s most successful authors, best known for her 16 Jalna novels about a family surnamed Whiteoak that lived somewhere in southern Ontario for a century from 1854 to 1954. Ringing the Changes, first published by Macmillan in 1957, is being reissued by Dundurn Press of Toronto as part of its “Voyageur Classics” series of important early Canadian books. The series is being edited by Professor Emeritus Michael Gnarowksi of Carleton University. Heather Kirk has published two books about Mazo de la Roche, including a biography for young adults. In her introduction to Ringing the Changes, Heather questions the assumptions of previous biographers of de la Roche and reveals some new information about the author’s life.

Professor Anna M. Cienciala of the University of Kansas, who made corrections to the manuscript of Heather Kirk's book, Be Not Afraid, has been awarded a very high honour by the country of her birth, Poland. This award is called "The Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland." The award recognizes individuals who have been of great service to Poland. It is Poland's second-highest honour. The award was given posthumously, just weeks after Professor Cienciala passed away on December 24, 2014. But she knew she was to receive the award.

Be Not Afraid, Heather Kirk’s book about the amazingly successful Polish nonviolent resistance movement, “Solidarity,” is reviewed at length in the current issue of an American academic journal called The Polish Review (Vol. 58, No. 4, 2014). The reviewer is Donald E. Pienkos, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.  The review is positive. Pienkos concludes: “Be Not Afraid can be recommended for general readers who are largely unfamiliar with the story of modern Poland and that of Solidarity, its origins, leaders, and incredible achievement. May both of these stories be told and retold, again and again.”

The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television nominated The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche, for three Canadian Screen Awards. The film is a 50-minute documentary about a wealthy and famous Canadian author whose Whiteoaks of Jalna novels sold in the millions around the world. Heather Kirk, who has published several books about de la Roche, is a subject interview in the film. The nominations were in several television “craft” categories. These were the “Barbara Sears” awards for “Best Editorial Research” and “Best Visual Research,” as well as the award for “Best Photography in a Documentary Program or Series.” Winners were announced on Sunday March 9, 2014 at the Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast Gala beginning at eight o’clock in the evening on CBC television. The gala was broadcast from the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

The documentary film, Mystery of Mazo de la Roche, was broadcast on TVO (TV Ontario) on Thursday March 6, 2014 at 9 p.m. This was the full, 52-minute version with no commercials. Heather is a subject interview in this film.

Heather’s most recent book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity,” received a positive review in the American journal, Am-Pol Eagle, on October 22, 2013. The reviewer was Geraldine Bereziuk Lowrey. Lowry’s concluding sentence is, “Be Not Afraid is an insightful look into the start of something which changed our world for the better.”

The Polish Heritage Foundation of Canada distributed copies of Heather’s book, Be Not Afraid, to all the delegates at an international Polish youth conference held in Montreal, Quebec on August 16 to 18, 2013. The conference was called Quo Vadis.

On July 3, 2013, Heather was surprised and delighted to receive a thank-you note from three secondary-school students in St. Paul, Minnesota--Maggie Schmidt, Kateri Schmidt, and Carly Zimmerman. Back in February 2013, the students had contacted Heather by e-mail and asked her to help them with a project they were doing on the theme, “Turning Points in History: People, Events, Ideas.” They had chosen to research the nine-day visit to Poland of Pope John Paul II in June 1979 and the visit’s effect on the fall of communism “in both Poland, as well as the Eastern Soviet Bloc in its entirety.” They wanted to interview Heather as an eyewitness to the visit, and she said they could. Then in June 2013, the students won first place in the National History Day Contest in the category “Senior Group Performance.” The win was for their project about the pope’s visit! National History Day is a highly-regarded, national-level academic program for elementary and secondary students in the United States. Over half a million students participate in the program annually.

Heather’s most recent book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity,” has been included on the list of recommended books of the Polish Embassy in Washington, DC. Click here to view the list of books.

Resource Links magazine, a Canadian reviewing journal, includes Heather Kirk’s book, Be Not Afraid: the Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity,” on its list of “The Year’s best 2012.” Heather’s book appears in the section, “Non-fiction Grades 7 – 12.” Here is the link: http://www.resourcelinksmagazine.ca/assets/pdfs/the-years-best-2012.pdf

The documentary film, Mystery of Mazo de la Roche, is now available in DVD and digital form from the National Film Board of Canada.  Heather Kirk authored two books about de la Roche and is a subject interview in the film.  Here is the link: http://www2.nfb.ca/boutique.

A brief article by Heather Kirk, titled “Wrestling with the War of 1812,” appears on the website of the Ontario Historical Society.  The article is about John Richardson, the first Canadian-born novelist, author of Wacousta.  Richardson struggled all his adult life to deal with the painful memories of being a child soldier during the War of 1812.  The article appears in the “Bicentennial News and Events” section of the OHS website, under “War of 1812-14 Bicentennial.”  Here is the link: http://ontariohistoricalsociety.ca

The June issue of Resource Links (Vol. 18, No. 1) carried a positive review of Heather Kirk’s most recent book, Be Not Afraid: the Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity.”  The reviewer, Zachary G. Chauvin, calls the book “an excellent reference” for Grades 7 to 12.  He gives the book an overall rating of “E.”  Apparently “E” stands for “Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it.” Resource Links is a magazine “connecting classrooms, libraries, and Canadian learning resources.”

A three-page interview with Heather Kirk was published in the August 2012 issue of SKANER. The interview was originally conducted in English, then a transcript was translated into Polish.  SKANER is a monthly, Polish-language magazine published in London, Ontario, Canada.  It was founded in 1995. The interviewer was Arleta Sziler, host of a weekly program called Polish Magazine on CJAM 99.1 FM Windsor/Detroit.  The topic of the interview was Heather’s most recent book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity.”

The July edition of the Polish American Journal carried a half-page, positive review of Heather’s recent book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity,”  The review, titled “Kirk Offers a Well-Written Account of “’Solidarity,’” was by John Grondelski.  The Polish American Journal is the USA’s largest, independent, English-language, monthly newspaper dedicated to the promotion, preservation and continuance of Polish American culture and heritage.  It is published in Buffalo, New York.  In 2005, John M. Grondelski was awarded the U.S. State Department’s “Meritorious Honor Award” by U.S. ambassador Victor H. Ashe at the American embassy in Warsaw.  The award was conferred for Dr. Grondelski’s activities in promoting training of the embassy’s Polish consular employees for the previous three years.

Heather was a subject interview in a documentary film that aired on the Bravo! television station on June 15 and 16, 2012.  The film, titled The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche, was a joint production of Red Queen Productions of Toronto and the National Film Board of Canada. Heather is the author of two books about Mazo de la Roche.

The Jalna books of Mazo de la Roche may soon form the basis of another television series. This news comes from a recent article by Kate Taylor in the Toronto Globe and Mail.  According to Taylor, producer Christina Jennings of Shaftesbury Films is backing writers Esta Spalding and Daphne Ballon who want to make the new series. “The concept is now in development with Shaw Media,” says Taylor.  The article, titled “How Canadian TV Can Start Thinking Really Big,” appeared on Saturday June 16, 2012.  Thus far, two TV series have been based on the Jalna series: one by CBC in 1972 and one by France 2 TV in 1994. A Hollywood movie and a hit play as well as various radio adaptations of the books have been made also.

Heather was interviewed twice recently on CJAM 99.1 FM Windsor/Detroit.  The interviews took place on Saturday June 9 and 16, 2012 on the regular program, Polish Magazine, which runs from 2 to 3 p.m.  The interviewer was Arleta Sziler, host of Polish Magazine.  The subject was Heather’s most recent book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity.”

A documentary film about once-famous Canadian author, Mazo de la Roche, was shown at the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto on April 29, 30 and May 6, 2012. Heather, who has published three academic papers and two books about Mazo de la Roche, was an interview subject for the film, which is titled The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche.  The film was a joint creation of Toronto-based Red Queen Productions, the National Film Board, and Bravo!  For more information about the film, and to see one or two one-minute clips, please click on the following link: http://blog.nfb.ca/2012/03/16/mazo-de-la-roche-film-premieres-at-fifa.

Heather signed copies of her new book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, "Solidarity." at Barrie Chapters on Saturday April 14, 2012 from 1 to 4 p.m.

A very positive review of Heather’s latest book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity,” appeared in the Winter 2011/12 edition of the online magazine, The Cosmopolitan Review. The reviewer was Irene Tomaszewski, author of Inside a Gestapo Prison 1942-44 and co-author of Codename Zegota, contributing editor to Cosmopolitan Review, director of Poland in the Rockies, winner of the Lech Walesa Media Award. To see the full review,
click here: http:cosmopolitanreview.com/articles/41-reviews/387-be-not.

On January 7, 2012, Heather was interviewed for about 20 minutes by Arleta Szilar of Polish Magazine on CJAM 99.1 FM Windsor/Detroit. Polish Magazine is a weekly one-hour program running from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

In December 2011, Heather’s latest book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity,” was the subject of a “featured news item” in the online, mass-circulation American magazine, Polonia Today. To see the item click here: http://www.poloniatoday.com/article-6.html.

On Saturday December 3, 2011, Heather officially launched her new book,
Be Not Afraid, at Page & Turners Bookstore in downtown Barrie.

On Friday December 2, 2011, an article by Susan Doolan about Heather’s new book, Be Not Afraid, appeared in the Barrie Examiner.

On Thursday December 1, 2011, Heather’s new book, Be Not Afraid, was listed on the website of the Kosciuszko Foundation.  The KF is an organization that tries to improve North American understanding of Polish culture and history.  It is based in New York City. 
See this link: http://www.thekf.org/gallery/Book.

On Tuesday November 29, Heather attended the Barrie Arts Awards ceremony in downtown Barrie.  Heather was shortlisted for an Excellence in the Arts award.

On Saturday November 19, 2011, Heather sold her books at the Holy Spirit Parish bazaar in Barrie.

On November 17, 2011 Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche to the Ladies’ Probus Club of Newmarket, Ontario.

In November 2011 Heather published her sixth book, Be Not Afraid: The Polish (R)evolution, “Solidarity.” This is a mostly nonfiction book about the amazingly successful non-violent resistance movement that helped end the Cold War without killing anyone. The publisher is Borealis Press of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Over several days in the summer and fall of 2010, Heather helped with a film about Mazo de la Roche.  The film will be a feature-length documentary drama about de la Roche (1879-1961), an internationally famous Canadian author best known for her 16 Jalna novels about an aristocratic family surnamed Whiteoak that lived for a century on a large farm called Jalna somewhere in southern Ontario. The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche is being produced by Red Queen Productions of Toronto with Bravo! and the National Film Board of Canada. Heather is the author of two books about Mazo de la Roche.

Over two days, on Monday June 7 and Monday June 14, 2010, Heather participated in a “Local Authors” day at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, Ontario.  Authors from Simcoe County and York Region sold their books to raise money for the RVH Auxiliary. Heather organized the event.

From September 1 to December 14, 2009, Heather offered a 12-week course called  “Creative Writing Fundamentals” on Monday evenings at Georgian College in Barrie. 

On Monday June 1, 2009, Heather and six other writers from Simcoe County sold their books all day long at the entrance to the cafeteria of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie.  The writers were raising money for the RVH Auxiliary.

On Tuesday November 11, 2008, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Canadian author, Mazo de la Roche (1879-1961), best known for her series of 16 award-winning, world-famous novels about the fictional Whiteoak family.  The Whiteoaks live for a century on an estate somewhere in southern Ontario called “Jalna.” Heather’s talk, which took place at the Aurora Public Library in Aurora, Ontario, was part of the National Public Readings Program sponsored by the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Canada Council.  The maternal grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather of Mazo de la Roche lived on a large farm within the boundaries of today’s Aurora.  This farm closely resembled Jalna.

On Tuesday November 4, 2008, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche. The talk, which took place at the Elman W. Campbell Museum in Newmarket, Ontario, was part of the National Public Readings Program sponsored by the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Canada Council.  Mazo de la Roche was born in Newmarket.

On Tuesday October 7, 2008, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche. The talk took place at the Peter Gzowski branch of the Georgina Public Library in Sutton West, Ontario.  Mazo de la Roche is buried in Georgina in the graveyard of St. George’s Anglican Church on the south shore of Lake Simcoe near Sibbald Point Provincial Park.

On Monday evenings from September 14 to December 8, 2008, Heather gave a twelve-week course on creative writing at the Barrie campus of Georgian College.This course was offered by the Part-Time Studies department of the college.

On Monday June 2, 2008, Heather and a number of other Simcoe County writers, sold books and poems from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the entrance to the cafeteria of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, Ontario.  The writers were raising money for the RVH Auxiliary.

On Wednesday May 28, 2008, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche to the Stroud Book Club at the Stroud branch of the Innisfil Public Library in Innisfil, Ontario.  Mazo de la Roche and her cousin and life-long companion, Caroline Clement, had many relatives in Innisfil and frequently vacationed there during the summer from youth until mid-life. Like Grandfather Whiteoak in the Jalna books, Caroline’s Grandfather Clement owned 1,000 acres of land. Like the Whiteoaks, the Clements had a proud tradition of service in the British army.

On Wednesday May 21, 2008, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche to the Orillia Historical Society in Orillia, Ontario.  Mazo de la Roche spent at least four years of her childhood in Orillia.

On Saturday April 12, 2008, the Government of Canada officially declared Mazo de la Roche a person of  “national historic significance.” At the same time the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada unveiled a plaque commemorating de la Roche at Benares Historical House in Mississauga, Ontario.  Benares has long been considered an important inspiration for the fictional home of the Whiteoaks.  For more information about the unveiling ceremony please see the website of the Mazo de la Roche Society at www.mazo.ca.

On Tuesday March 18, 2008, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche to the Simcoe County Historical Association in Barrie, Ontario.

In November 2007, Heather’s second book about Mazo de la Roche was published by Tecumseh Press of Ottawa, Ontario.  This book was titled, Who Were the Whiteoaks and Where Was Jalna?
Tecumseh is an imprint of Borealis Book Publishers, which specializes in Canadian literature.

On Saturday October 20, 2007, Heather gave a one-day seminar on writing for children at the Barrie campus of Georgian College.  This seminar was offered by the Part-Time Studies department of the college.

On Tuesday October 16, 2007, Heather was the local author featured at the annual Authors’ Reading evening sponsored by the Gryphon Theatre Guild of Barrie, Ontario.  Two well-known writers were the main attractions: Karolyn Smardz Frost, author of I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land, and William Stevenson, author of Spymistress.  This event took place at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie.  A few weeks later, I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land won the 2007 Governor General’s Award for nonfiction. (Congratulations to Karolyn Smardz Frost!)

In May 2007, Heather was a reader for the eleventh annual Writing for Children Competition sponsored by the Writers’ Union of Canada.

On Thursday April 26, 2007, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche at the Barrie Public Library at 60 Worsley Street in Barrie, Ontario.

On Monday April 23, 2007, Heather and several other local authors sold their books and poems  at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, Ontario to raise money for the RVH Auxiliary.

On Thursday April 12, 2007, Heather attended the “80th Anniversary Dinner” in Mississauga, Ontario.  This dinner, sponsored by the Mazo de la Roche Society, marked the 80th anniversary of Mazo de la Roche’s winning the Atlantic Little Brown competition with her novel, Jalna.

On Tuesday March 20, 2007, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche at the Orillia Public Library in Orillia, Ontario.

On Sunday March 18, 2007, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche to the King Township Historical Society.  This event took place in the King Township Museum in King City, Ontario.

On Friday February 2, 2007, Heather signed copies of her book, Mazo de la Roche: Rich and Famous Writer, at the Ontario Library Association conference at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto.

On Saturday January 20, 2007, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche to the Innisfil Historical Society.  The event took place in  the Churchill Community Hall in Churchill, Ontario.  Just a few metres from the Hall is St. Peter’s Anglican Church.  In the graveyard of St. Peter’s are buried the mutual grandparents of Mazo de la Roche and Caroline Clement: Hiram and Caroline Willson.  The Willsons provided many characteristics of the fictional Vaughan family in the Jalna novels.

On Sunday December 17, 2006, Heather signed copies of her book, Mazo de la Roche: Rich and Famous Writer, at Benares Historical House in Mississauga, Ontario.  Benares is a museum partly dedicated to Mazo de la Roche.

On Wednesday November 15, 2006, Heather gave an illustrated talk on Mazo de la Roche to the Aurora Historical Society at Hillary House in Aurora, Ontario.  Hillary House is a national historic site.

On Thursday October 5, 2006, Heather signed copies of her newly published book, Mazo de la Roche: Rich and Famous Writer at the Chapters store in Barrie, Ontario.  Heather’s 200-page biography of de la Roche was part of the “Quest” series of biographies brought out by XYZ Publishing of Montreal which has since been bought out by the Dundurn Group of Toronto.
 

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heather kirk, speaker
Heather Kirk Author