Trent University to Celebrate Canadian Cultural Icons P.K. Page Irwin and Arthur Irwin on May 2


Community Invited to Book Launch and Public Viewing of Room Honouring Two Major Figures in Canadian Culture

Monday, April 27, 2009, Peterborough

On Saturday, May 2, at Catharine Parr Traill College, Trent University will celebrate the significant cultural contributions of two remarkable figures, Canadian writer and painter P.K. Page Irwin and media pioneer Arthur Irwin.

At 2:00 p.m. there will be a launch of P.K. Page’s two latest works of poetry entitled Coal and Roses and The Golden Lillies, with writer Andrea Johnston on hand to read selected poems.

After the reading, refreshments will be served and there will be a public viewing of the newly dedicated Page Irwin Colloquium Room, honouring P.K. Page and her husband William Arthur Irwin who, as editor of Maclean’s magazine and commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the development of Canadian culture.

Patricia Kathleen Page met William Arthur Irwin in 1950 when she was working at the National Film Board of Canada, to which he had just been appointed commissioner. On December 16 of that year they were married and were to spend the next 49 years of their lives together, until Arthur’s death in 1999.

When they met, Ms. Page was already one of Canada’s finest poets. Arthur had just completed a quarter century at Maclean’s Magazine, the last five years as its editor, during which time he transformed the magazine into the “beating heart of the country”, in the words of one of his many recruits, June Callwood. After bringing needed reforms to the National Film Board, which ensured its continuing role as one of the enduring pillars of Canadian culture, he went on to serve his country from 1953 to 1964 as ambassador to Australia, Brazil and Mexico. He then returned to his first love, journalism, as publisher of the Victoria Times.

Ms. Page’s years with her husband were to prove the most productive of her career, both as a writer and, beginning in Brazil with Arthur’s encouragement, as a visual artist under the name P.K. Irwin. During this period, she produced dozens of volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, memoirs and books for children, as well as many hundreds of pictures, which, like her writings, testify to the richness and variety of her art in whatever medium she chooses to express herself.

The book launch is taking place in the multi-purpose room at Scott House, in Catharine Parr Traill College, Trent University’s newly renovated Graduate Studies college located at 310 London St. The Page Irwin Colloquium Room is in the English Graduate Program Office Suite, 132 Wallis Hall, also at Traill College. This event is open to the community and members of the media are encouraged to attend.


For further information, please contact Professor Zailig Pollock, English Literature Department at (705) 748-1011, ext. 1793.