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Bringing John Rae to Robert Burns Country

Next week will find me giving talks in Robert Burns Country. I mentioned previously that, thanks to a new "friendship bridge" extending between the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, I have fallen heir to a whirlwind, four-day speaking tour. Now, in response to popular demand, I can provide details.
My illustrated talk is called Let's Take Back Arctic History: The John Rae Story. I argue that the orthodox or 'official' version of Arctic exploration history focuses almost exclusively on Royal Navy officers, omitting the contributions of Canada's indigenous peoples and fur-trade explorers like the peerless Scottish-Orcadian John Rae. I will draw on my books Fatal Passage and Dead Reckoning, and say a few words about the forthcoming Arctic Return Expedition, which will retrace the route Rae followed on his all-important 1854 trek. If you're in Scotland, you can catch me at 7:30 p.m. as follows. . . .
-- March 26:  Dumfries, Easterbrook Hall.
-- March 27: Galashiels, Scottish Border Campus 
-- March 28: Ayr, Council Chambers, Ayr Town Hall
-- March 29: Helensburgh, Victoria Halls

The connection with Burns is two-fold. The poet was born in a cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire (see painting to the left, which Sheena did after our first visit); and he died and lies buried in Dumfries. Somewhere, I have a photo of me in that town, sitting in his favorite chair in a local pub. But I'll dig that out another time.
[The Burns portrait derives from Alexander Nasmyth.]

Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.