Friday, June 18, 2010

Canadian literature in libraries

I recently returned from Ottawa, where as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, I reported to the board of the Canada Council. My main message? Next year (2011) marks the 25th anniversary of the PLR Program, which recognizes Canadian authors for the presence of their books in libraries. These are still early days. But the idea is to launch a year-long celebration of this crucial support program, and of Canadian literature generally, in Toronto next May. We'll begin with a two-night literary extravaganza, open to the public, at the annual general meeting of the Writers' Union of Canada, and finish in Montreal the following February, with TWUC'S francophone counterpart, UNEQ, hosting a literary finale at the Grande Bibliotecque. In between, the trick will be to mount events across the country (readings, panel discussions, performances) to celebrate Canadian books and authors. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Spaces are going, going . . .

In fact, already we're eight down, four to go, and as I write we're weeks to deadline. This workshop is heading for capacity. We're talking Narrative Nonfiction at the University of Toronto Summer School July 5 to 9. I've got a new book coming this fall (How the Scots Invented Canada, nice of you to ask), so after this, I'll give teaching a rest until 2011. The great thing about the Summer School is that you not only get panel discussions and readings, but you rub shoulders with all kinds of other writers.
OK, sure, my workshop is the main highlight. But even if you don't manage to latch onto one of those last four spaces, heck, you could probably pick up a few pointers from the likes of Joy Fielding, Ken Babstock, Susan Swan, Peter Robinson, Erika Ritter, Alissa York, Kelley Armstrong, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Randy Boyagoda, Mariko Tamaki, Norman Snider, or Dave Bidini. Yup, it's looking like a party. See ya there.