The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Magazine for May 28, 2023

Naheed Nenshi and Ryan Jespersen tee up the Alberta election, author Michelle Min Sterling discusses her debut novel Camp Zero, Slate writer Henry Grabar on how parking explains the world and sociologist Jonathan Kennedy charts the history of human plagues. Plus, the Pulitzer prize-winning poet whose work has a hint about the series finale of Succession.
Robyn Bresnahan is the host of Ottawa Morning.
CBC Ottawa's morning show host Robyn Bresnahan is filling-in for Piya Chattopadhyay this week. (na)

This week on The Sunday Magazine with guest host Robyn Bresnahan: 

Election-eve in Alberta 

On the eve of the Alberta election, Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi and Edmonton talk show host Ryan Jespersen join Bresnahan to talk about how the vote is shaping up and what it will mean for Albertans and Canadians. 

Camp Zero 

Natural gas, rare minerals and oil may be some of the most valuable resources in the world right now, but as climate change causes temperatures to rise dramatically on every continent, Canadian author Michelle Min Sterling began thinking about a natural resource that we take for granted: the cold. Her debut novel, Camp Zero,  takes place in an abandoned oil town in northern Alberta where American elites are building a climate refuge for the rich. Min Sterling joins guest host  Bresnahan to talk about the book, and how a trip to visit her cousin working in the oil patch inspired the setting for her first eco-thriller.

How parking explains the world

Drivers know well the feeling of elation that comes from finding the perfect parking spot, and the utter deflation at being unable to find one at all. Slate writer Henry Grabar says parking isn't just a mundane chore or a frequent frustration - it can actually tell us a lot about our cities, our psyches and our culture. He joins Bresnahan to talk about his new book, Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World. 

How plagues explain our history 

The COVID-19 pandemic may have felt like an unprecedented time. But in the course of human history, plagues and pandemics haven't just been the norm, they've  been a key driver of our evolution — from the rise of homo sapiens and Christianity to the reality of colonialism. That's the provocative argument in sociologist Jonathan Kennedy's new book, Pathogenesis: A History of the World in Eight Plagues. Kennedy, who teaches politics and global public health at Queen Mary University of London, joins Bresnahan to explain how germs shape our past, present and future.

Could a poem from the 1960s hold a clue about how Succession will end?

The wildly popular HBO drama Succession comes to a close this Sunday with its highly-anticipated series finale. After four seasons of twists and turns, fans will find out which character will come out on top and who will be left with wasabi in their eyes. As the internet buzzes with theories, some are looking to a 1969 poem for clues. Every Succession season finale has drawn its title from the text of Dream Song 29, by the late American Pulitzer prize-winning poet John Berryman. Mount Holyoke English professor emeritus Christopher Benfey explains why Berryman's work speaks to the modern themes in the show and explores the common ground shared by these two works.