Presenter: Fiona Trotter

Fiona completed her Bachelor of Arts, English Honours, at UBC in 2013, and is currently enrolled in UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, hoping to focus on children’s librarianship. She is delighted to be presenting at The Colloquium, and extends her thanks to Dr. Kealy, who supervised her original undergraduate thesis, and to Dr. Sirluck, who helped her find Dr. Kealy.

“Living on the Threshold” Real and Imagined Spaces in Kit Pearson’s Awake and Dreaming

In my presentation I intend to examine the dichotomy between real and imagined landscapes in Kit Pearson’s children’s fiction, with my primary focus being the novel Awake and Dreaming. In particular, I plan to concentrate on threshold spaces between the real and the imagined, and on Pearson’s doubling of space in fiction and reality through her use of carefully adapted real-life environments. In contrast to the more common use of space in children’s fantasy literature, with a journey into the magical and then a return to the real, Pearson’s use of the Canadian west coast landscape allows her protagonist, Theo, to move more complexly between the fantastical imagined ideal and the grimly realistic. This serves to allow the real and the imagined to eventually collapse into one integrated space, while the novel as a whole actually resists placement in the fantasy genre. I will argue that Pearson’s use and exploration of space is a key component to the novel’s expression of the liminal natures of imagination and childhood, as well as to the narrative’s central theme of being simultaneously both awake and dreaming.

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