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Say Goodbye to John Steinbeck

On Feb. 27, during Freedom to Read Week, I'll be part of Closer to the Land: Freedom of Expression and the Environment, an extravaganza slated for the Toronto Reference Library. I won't bring my guitar that night, but to mark the occasion, I've ransacked the musical archive and voila: Say Goodbye to John Steinbeck. I wrote this song when I was living in Calgary, after a government MLA stood up in the legislature and brandished a petition calling for the banning of Of Mice and Men, the classic novel by John Steinbeck. I still remember reading about this in a newspaper for the first time, and the way the blood rushed to my head. I was writing and performing songs in those days, and the result was Say Goodbye to John Steinbeck. Turned out lots of people felt the same way I did, and we killed that particular campaign. Would-be censors, it turns out, are like the living dead in SF movies: you stop some of them, but others just keep coming in waves. The only good thing about them is that they keep this song timely and relevant.

Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.