Madeleine Thien on Norman Cornett’s dialogic sessions:
“I first met Dr. Cornett in 2008, as an observer during his dialogic session with Montreal writer Rawi Hage, and Hage’s celebrated and challenging novel, Cockroach. The class took place in an art gallery on Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street. The session I witnessed was riveting, bold, argumentative, engaged, profound, and endlessly fascinating: the kind of conversation I believe that art both provokes and necessitates. The dialogic sessions revealed not only the nuances of the work, but they revealed the reader to him or herself. What do we read, how do we read it, how do we integrate it into the system of thought we carry? What parts of our thinking are invisible to us and how can we make them visible? How can we think freely? "We suffer no illusions that we'll all believe the same,” Dr. Cornett has said. "So that we learn that the only answer that really counts is an honest answer.” In my encounters with Dr. Cornett since then, I’ve been consistently moved and educated by the discourse that Dr. Cornett is able to elicit in his students and in the guests who visit his class.
“I’m honoured that Dr. Cornett has chosen to focus on my work but I know that the subject at the heart of the discourse will be the reader, the individual: our perceptions, illusions and convictions, and the struggle to think free thoughts.”