The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Magazine for November 14, 2021

Dr. Sanjay Gupta explores what this pandemic can teach us about the next one, we chart the origins of the symbols on our keyboard, Sook-Yin Lee celebrates her late partner with new album, and Omar El Akkad talks about his Giller Prize-winning novel What Strange Paradise
David Common is guest host of The Sunday Magazine. (CBC)

This week on The Sunday Magazine with guest host David Common:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta says the pandemic's akin to war  and we need to shore up our defences

In his new book World War CDr. Sanjay Gupta argues that we need to take stock of what we've got wrong during the COVID-19 crisis, in order to prepare for the next pandemic. CNN's chief medical correspondent joins Common to talk about why early lessons we learned about staying safe are still as essential now than ever before, why he thinks it's important for kids to get vaccinated, and why he sees British Columbia's Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as an example for others to follow.

Hyphens, hashtags, commas, and colons: How the signs and symbols of written language evolved

How do you feel about the Oxford comma? What about excessive exclamation points or question marks?!?!?! For punctuation purists, our use (or abuse) of the signs and symbols that govern written English may cause strong emotions. But for writer and editor Claire Cock-Starkey, every hyphen, comma and period indicate just how far communication has come since we first started writing. In the latest instalment of our language segment Word Processing, the author of Hyphens and Hashtags joins Common for a tour through the finer points of marks.

Sook-Yin Lee's latest album celebrates Adam Litovitz's undying spirit

Sook-Yin Lee used to dance to tunes she wrote with her creative and romantic partner, Adam Litovitz. But since his death in 2019, she says she's had to learn to dance with grief. To help her cope, she's completed an electro-pop album they'd co-created called jooj two. We revisit Lee's conversation with Common about how she still feels Litovitz's energy around her and in their music.

Omar El Akkad on how the honesty of childhood reveals the ugliness in our world

At this moment, more than 80 million people worldwide have fled home, 40 per cent of whom are children under the age of 18. And as novelist Omar El Akkad sees it, that number will grow as climate change worsens. He grapples with how people treat one another – and the window it offers into the human condition – in his latest novel, What Strange Paradise. This past week, El Akkad was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize for the book. On the occasion, we revisit his conversation with Piya Chattopadhyay about why he told the story through the eyes of a child, the privilege of hopeful futures and the danger of temporary outrage.