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Author Marie Wilson’s first book ‘North of Nowhere’ looks at her work on the TRC Commission

Wilson says her mantra while documenting accounts of the TRC and compiling her notebooks into ‘North of Nowhere’ has always been ‘do no harm.'
Marie Wilson is launching her new book ‘North of Nowhere, Song of a Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner.’

Petrolia-born and award-winning journalist Marie Wilson is launching her first book ‘North of Nowhere, Song of a Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner’ on May 26 with an event at The Book Keeper

‘North of Nowhere’ is the author's first-hand account of the inner workings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Being only one of three, and the sole non-Indigenous commissioner, Wilson dedicated more than six years to travelling across Canada to meticulously document survivor stories of residential schools with the TRC. 

For more than 30 years, Wilson’s journalism career spanned work in print, radio, and television as a regional and national reporter, and as regional director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBC North. It was these same skills honed as a journalist that would play a key role in documenting the testimonies of the TRC, and in the retelling within her book. 

“I wanted to be able to do a firsthand account using the skills that I have and the knowledge that I have and the privileged access that I had to the whole story. I felt I could make a contribution to keeping the history alive,” Marie Wilson tells the Journal. 

She says her mantra while documenting accounts of the TRC and compiling her notebooks into ‘North of Nowhere’ has always been ‘do no harm.’

“How do I do this honestly, without sugarcoating it, try to do no harm? To really try not to demonize anybody, but rather say, let's just face the facts in front of us,” Wilson asks.   

Wilson says it is crucial to keep truth and reconciliation an open discourse across Canada.

“Canada has such a dynamically changing population, we have newcomers to this country who have no idea what story they've walked into,” Wilson says, adding that it’s important to keep “...the next generation well informed and [keep] the present generation of adults attuned to the momentum that's necessary to make real change in our country.”

Wilson says writing the book was healing for her as it helped her honour her own gifts and also fully acknowledge the many blessings she has experienced throughout her life that equipped her and prepared her to do this work. 

“There was such generosity and hope in what so many of the survivors shared with our country that I got to receive on behalf of the country, as it were, as a commissioner in that moment,” Wilson says. 

“It's one of the reasons why I want to do the launch in Sarnia…,” shares Wilson. “I still have remaining family members in Sarnia…I want to be able to reflect back to them what a pivotal part of my growing up and my strengthening they were, and how that was actually an important part of the story of truth and reconciliation, as I believe it is for all of us, because all we can bring to it is who we are and our belief system.”

Meet Marie Wilson in person for a book signing and conversation at The Book Keeper, on May 26 at 2 p.m.

‘North of Nowhere’ is set to be officially released from House of Anansi Press on June 11.

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