Laurie Lam – 2021 Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency

While in residence at Riding Mountain National Park, writer Laurie Lam will be working on her first novel. Building on the outline and research she’s done over the past few years, Laurie will focus on character development, the creation of suspense, and the exploration of theme.

Her story begins in Toronto, where a Korean War veteran discovers he may be the son of influential Canadian artist Tom Thomson. He and his colleagues ask too many questions about the past and must flee for their lives, driving to Pasadena in search of the truth.

“The decomposed body of famous Canadian artist Tom Thomson was quickly buried at Canoe Lake in July, 1917,” explained Laurie. “Experts have long argued about the nature of his death: was his drowning an accident, a suicide or a murder?”

With Laurie’s novel, she’ll imagine an alternative: what if Thomson’s friends helped him disappear? Where would he have gone, with war raging around the world? And, what price would he have paid to keep his survival a secret?

“I grew up surrounded by Thomson and the Group of Seven. Their work inspired in me a sense of aesthetic patriotism, even if their Algonquin Park looked nothing like my Plum Coulee,” said Laurie.

Laurie plans to make use of her time at the Deep Bay Cabin, to not only write the first 75 pages of her draft, but to find inspiration in the natural elements that were once the inspiration for Thomson himself.

“Where better than a lakeside cabin in Riding Mountain to find the surrender to nature that was at the centre of Thomson’s early artistic practice, and my characters’ fictional rebirth,” said Laurie.

The Riding Mountain Artists’ Residency is offered in partnership by the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park. The residency takes place in the Deep Bay cabin, a recognized federal heritage building originally used as a base for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s floatplane forest fire patrols.

Since its restoration in 2006, the cabin has welcomed over 100 artists in dance, music, theatre, literary, visual and media arts, who create and share their work with audiences in the park and surrounding area.

Interested in the staying in the Deep Bay cabin? Find out how to apply to the Riding Mountain Artists Residency through the Manitoba Arts Council’s Learn – Residencies program. Apply by November 1, 2021 for a residency in the summer of 2022.