Experience of a Political Novice
November 7th, 1:00-3:00 pm
In the summer of 2015, fed up with the government of the day, Noah Richler decided it was time to pitch in and run for office. His misfortune, he did so for the NDP in the one election in seven that the pollsters got right. Sure, he lost—he was never really expected to win—but, the true prize, the experience of a political campaign turned out to be one of the best and most meaningful of his life.
He ran a highly original campaign featuring viral videos—that led to his Internet shaming (a necessary political experience) and the preposterous threat of a lawsuit—learned about the city of Toronto from the doorstep, a multitude of lives, the drive and passions of volunteers, and above all the privilege that is Canadian parliamentary democracy. Mordant, witty and true, his memoir The Candidate was nominated for prizes in political writing and humour and, recently optioned for television, is perhaps the only account of a Canadian political campaign from the ground, and one with which any citizen can identify. In “Show Me the Data” Noah speaks to the experience of a political novice that, essential to any healthy democracy, could be you, but also to necessary reforms and the tectonic and very undemocratic changes the inevitable collusion of social networks and political parties is bringing about.
Noah Richler is an author, print and radio journalist, cultural critic and failed political candidate. But he has won some things—his first book, This Is My Country, What’s Yours? A Literary Atlas of Canada, won the 2007 British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, was nominated for a Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction prize, and named one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by Maclean’s magazine. What We Talk About When We Talk About War (2012) was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing and the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and short and long-listed for several other prizes. His most recent book, The Candidate, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail (2016) was nominated for the Writers Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing and the Stephen Leacock Award for humour. He’s also won three gold National Magazine Awards and prizes for his radio documentary work. Noah, a dedicated and impassioned Canadian, divides his time between the Digby Neck, in Nova Scotia, and Toronto, Ontario.