Canadian lawyer, author to speak at WVU College of Law

By Chris Dickerson | Oct 2, 2012

MORGANTOWN — What happens when a lawyer becomes an author?

Canadian attorney, novelist and poet Leslie Hall Pinder will address that question when she speaks at the West Virginia University College of Law at noon on Oct. 9 in the Davis Gallery (Room 131A). Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

“When a writer like Leslie uses her knowledge and skills as a lawyer to fashion a novel, that is one thing,” law professor James Elkins said. “But when a writer like Pinder brings to a novel her skills and her sensibilities as a poet, we have writing that is lyrical and haunting.”

Pinder intertwines fiction with her legal knowledge to create stories that deal with the struggle for truth as defined by the law. Her most recent novel, “Bring Me One of Everything," weaves fact and fiction into a tale of suspense and intrigue. It is centered on a troubled writer who is researching a prominent 1950s anthropologist, Austin Hart. In the story, Hart is known for removing a stand of totem poles from the Haida homeland in British Columbia and, subsequently, committing suicide.

The New York Times has called Pinder’s writing “poetically vivid” and “brave work.” Her previous books are “Under the House” and “On Double Tracks." She was nominated for Canada’s highest literary recognition, the Governor-General’s Award, for “On Double Tracks.”

Born on the Canadian prairie, Pinder graduated from the Law School at the University of British Columbia in 1976. In 1978, she served as the in-house legal counsel for the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. In 1983, she became a founding partner in the firm of Mandell Pinder & Ostrove, representing the land rights of Canada’s First Nations. She now writes full-time, living in Vancouver and Mexico.

While she is at WVU Law, Pinder will also be speaking to students in the “Lawyers, Poets and Poetry” class taught by Elkins.

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