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Kathleen Venema

After three years teaching junior high school in a northern Manitoba mining town, I moved to Ndejje, Uganda, to teach science and mathematics at a teacher-training college that was re-opening after a devastating civil war.  Three years later, I returned to Canada and graduate school, and I'm now an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg, where my research focuses on narratives of illness, disability, dementia, and care.  My lifelong interest in transformative pedagogy led me to the Walls-to-Bridges program, and after completing my facilitator training in spring 2015, I had the honour, in spring 2016, of facilitating a Walls-to-Bridges upper-level English course in a provincial women's jail with a blend of incarcerated and campus-based students.

My memoir, Bird-Bent Grass, uses letters that my mother and I exchanged while I lived in Uganda from 1986-1989 to tell a story about our exceptionally close relationship and to track the way our relationship changed when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2005. 

E-mail: c/o Writers' Union of Canada
Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada


Bird-Bent Grass: A Memoir, in Pieces. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2018


Shortlisted for the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-fiction, 2019
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Northern OAC WITS:
One session:
GST not applicable