ALUx4: Four Things in Canadian Literature we’re Excited About

September 13, 2018

To keep our fourth Birthday from being too much of an own-horn-tooting good time – what can we say, we’re an only child – we’re looking outwards at four great things going on in Canadian Literature right now.

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Here are four big things in CanLit that give us so, so much hope for the future:

 

Diversifying Festivals

Literary festivals are markedly different from how they were in the past – country-wide, directors are incorporating new reading styles and presentations into their fetes, not to mention a swath of up-and-coming authors that represent new, fresh voices.

Two festivals of note are Vancouver’s Growing Room, a feminist literature festival presented by Room Magazine, and Brampton’s Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD), a festival highlighting diverse writers at various intersections of identity. These festivals strive to lead by example, working to include voices previously excluded by programming or accessibility needs. They put on bright, engaged panels and immersive reading experiences for attendees.

 

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A change in awards and awards juries

In the last few years, more independent publishers on awards lists (including Invisble Publishing in last year’s Giller bout, for I Am a Truck) meant not only a wider variety of books in contention but also more diverse juries who made the selections.

We’ve also seen new, high-profile awards emerge, like the Indigenous Voices Award, and regional awards like the BMO Winterset Award for Newfoundland & Labrador writing getting national attention. 

 

Reclaiming Indigenous Lit 

As we’ve talked about in the past, Canadian Literature is experiencing a much-needed proliferation of Indigenous books. While there are some Indigenous-led houses ( Kegedonce Press and Theytus Books among them), settler publishing houses are tasked with respectfully editing, marketing, and publicizing the works of the Indigenous writers they publish.

Enter The Elements of Indigenous Style by Theytus publisher Greg Younging, a style guide for writing by and about Indigenous folks. In it, he quotes the principles made by another editing initiative, the Indigenous Editors Circle at Humber College. Through these and other emerging practices, our fingers are crossed that CanLit will have more Indigenous representation at the publisher level, too.

 

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Poetry’s (re)ascendancy

We’re going to preface this one by saying that poetry in Canada has always been exciting, genre-bending, out-of-the-box stuff. Of late, though, a certain celebrity has attached to the art form, in huge part due to the unbelievable success of poet Rupi Kaur.

As we’ve seen, a rising tide floats all poetry boats, and poetry sales have been growing all over, even after you exclude Milk & Honey. Add to that incredible poetry from emerging voices (Hana Shafi’s It Begins with the Body from Book*hug is a rawer Kaur, if you’re looking for somewhere to start), this is a renaissance we’re thrilled to be a part of.

 

 

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Of course, we still have a ways to go before Canadian Literature is truly representative of all the rad people who live here. Call us four years old naive, but we’re feeling good about this.

And, don't "four"get – Birthdays around here mean CONTESTS. You can win all of this great stuff pictured below (with a different book each day) – stay tuned to our  Instagram page @alllitupcanada all week to find out how to get your hands on our ALUx4 prize pack.

 

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