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Primrose Madayag Knazan is an award-winning playwright and author based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her novel & cookbook, Lessons in Fusion, was published under the Yellow Dog imprint of Great Plains publishing and debuted on McNally Robinson’s Best Seller list. Lessons in Fusion has been nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book, the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, and the Willow Awards - Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Awards. Her plays have been featured at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, Sarasvati Production’s FemFest, and the Filipino-Canadian playwright’s festival in Toronto. Her most recent play, Precipice, won the 2021 Jewish Canadian Playwrights Competition. She has been featured on CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, the Winnipeg THIN AIR International Writer’s Festival, the Tarbut Festival of Jewish Culture, and represented Manitoba at Fu-GEN’s Asian-Canadian Theatre Conference in Toronto. Her plays have been published by Canadian Playwrights Press and Scirocco Drama. Primrose is also a freelance food writer for the Filipino Journal and a content creator and social media influencer promoting Manitoba restaurants, artisan products, and culinary events as @pegonaplate on Instagram.
Getting to Know You
The Against Taffy Sinclair Club, by Betsy Haynes
The premise of the book is that Taffy Sinclair is suddenly getting a lot of attention because she’s started to reach puberty. A group of girls form a club to raise money in order to purchase a contraption that they think will jumpstart their own progress.
The book talked about breasts and I thought my parents would see it as immoral. However as an adult I see it as a coming of age book and if I had a daughter, I’d suggest we read the book together to talk about growing up, body image, and self-confidence.
“Say Yes, AND”
Bossy Pants, by Tina Fey
I took theatre in university, including improv workshops. Improv is more than games where actors come up with short stories on audience suggestions. Improv is the idea of creating something substantial out of nothing. Tina Fey is a successful comedian and writer, most known as the head writer for Saturday Night Live, creator of television show 30 Rock, and for writing the movie Mean Girls, among other accomplishments. She started her career as an impov artist. In her memoir, Bossy Pants, she outlines how she used the rules of improv to apply to life. The first rule is to ‘Say Yes.’ Which refers to incorporate any idea that is thrown at you into your sketch or story. The second rule is “Say Yes, AND” which means to not only agree and then add something of your own. She says to be open to new encounters and build upon them to create something bigger. Since reading her book, I’ve been more open to possibilities and adding my own contributions. Every moment can become an opportunity and a place where I can make my mark.
I am a cluttered desk person but I know where everything is. This is reflected in my writing. My plays and stories tend to be non-linear. I jump around in time and place, but always tell a plot that comes together.
Needing to go the bathroom? LOL. A better question is what keeps me up at night. Ideas often keep me up, stories that run through my head. Sometimes I have to get through certain arcs before my brain will settle.
I always wanted to cook professionally, not as a chef (because it’s very difficult work), but as a guest cook for a pop-up dinner. There’s a validation you get when someone enjoys something you’ve created. It’s one of the reasons I write. I share my stories and plays so that someone else will feel a reaction from something I created. The validation is even more pronounced when I cook something amazing and share it with someone who ingests the dish and enjoys it. Luckily, I will be presenting my first pop-up dinner at the end of March.
Winnipeg is located in Treaty One territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. THIN AIR, the annual celebration produced by the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, strives to honour the First People’s rich tradition of sharing stories as the ground for building genuine community and restoring right relations.