Guest lecture at Dawson College

Dawson College

Dawson College

Kathy often visits colleges and universities across Canada to discuss poverty issues. Last month she gave a guest lecture at Dawson College in Montreal, and spoke about the impact of poverty on individuals and families, as well as her book With a Closed Fist.

If you’d like to have Kathy speak at your school, please email us here.

Back to school


Next week I’ll be starting a PhD in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, and to be honest I still feel like I’m making that up.

I’m the same kid who dropped out of high school when I was fifteen years old, after failing grades seven, eight and nine. Flash forward about a million years, after going back to school at 17, graduating two years later with a high school diploma and a certificate in hairdressing, I eventually went on to do an undergraduate degree, though it took me forever to complete it. School and I hadn’t exactly clicked yet. But last year I completed a master’s in Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. And that’s when everything changed for me. While completing my master’s degree I made a shocking discovery.

I like school.

No one was more surprised than me to learn that I enjoy all the writing, readings and research. And perhaps even more, all of the classroom discussions and debates with professors and students who not only have strong opinions, but informed ones as well.

The professors would assign a mountain of readings, academic articles and texts which I admit I usually had to read at least twice (okay, I’m lying, I read everything more than twice) before I could even begin to understand the author’s point, never mind try to ‘unpack’ it with other students later in class.

Which reminds me, it was in grad school that I first heard the expression ‘unpack’ used in a context other than what you do after you move.


I learned in grad school that you could claim or argue anything; as long as you can relate it to the readings, then you can’t be wrong. And when the prof says gradschooly stuff like, “Let’s unpack this narrative together,” what they often mean is, “who can best paraphrase what the author- an established academic in the field with more credibility than your intuition, gut feelings, or opinions- of the reading has claimed?”

This isn’t a bad thing. This is part of the ‘developing an informed opinion’ process. Plus it helps you develop excellent skills in paraphrasing, and being able to demonstrate that you understand what you just read. I mean, if you can make the author’s arguments you’ve obviously understood them, right? I think.

So now, just days away from starting my PhD, I admit some of my old fears are resurfacing. Will I be able to keep up with the demands of the program? Will I be able to find the time to read everything 15 times in order to ensure I (mostly) understand what the hell I just read?

I hope I’ll be ready to unpack.

“Author’s humour never stops”


2008-Review-NEW-LOGOThe Niagara Falls Review had a story about Kathy’s recent talk at the Niagara Falls public library book clubs’ Book Lover’s Literary Luncheon. 

“The humour never stops – it’s everywhere in the book. In person, Dobson is also funny, engaging and intelligent. We were so fortunate and honoured to have her speak at our literary lunch.”

Click here for full article by Ashleigh Last.


CBC’s 2012 panel for Poverty and Homelessness Action week


Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition book club:CBC_logo-300x300 Kathy’s book With a Closed Fist was discussed on CBC Radio as part of the annual Poverty and Homelessness Action week panel to talk about books that illustrate the challenges of being poor in Canada

Click here to listen to the 2 Part panel discussion.


Toughest Neighbourhood in Canada


nfb_logo_canadian_designIn 1978, the National Film Board of Canada made a short documentary about Point St. Charles, a neighbourhood they described as the “toughest in Canada.” Click here to watch the documentary.





SYNOPSIS – from the National Film Board:
This short documentary is a portrait of Point St. Charles, one of Montreal’s notoriously bleak neighbourhoods. Many of the residents are English-speaking and of Irish origin; many of them are also on welfare. Considered to be one of the toughest districts in all of Canada, Point St. Charles is poor in terms of community facilities, but still full of rich contrasts and high spirits – that is, most of the time.



Book Lovers’ Literary Lunch



Kathy will be speaking at the Niagara Falls Public Library Book Lovers’ Literary Lunch event April 27th @1:00pm. Enjoy an end-of-year celebratory luncheon with Niagara Falls book club members and a talk + Q&A session with Kathy about her book, With a Closed Fist.

Tickets are $15 (wine tickets an additional $5), and Kathy’s book will be available to purchase for $20. See the flyer below for more details, hope to see you there!

Book Lovers’ Literary Lunch