Literary Arts Forum, Montreal

Published February 2, 2014 by A.J.B. Johnston

I feel very fortunate to have been at the Forum organized by the Canada Council for the Arts and held in Montreal, Feb. 14-15. There were over 200 of us (novelists, poets, essayists, publishers, translators, agents, spoken word artists and more), as well as CC staff, trying to figure out the best ways ahead for Canada’s literary industry. The discussions gave us a great deal to think about, and the shared energy and renewed engagement of all participants was a highlight. We’re at a crisis of sorts — for a variety of reasons, with tech. change near the top of the list — and it’s vitally important that the nation and its public policymakers lay the groundwork for its creators to flourish, not wither away. Copyright must be protected, authors encouraged, and literature in all its forms given the opportunity to thrive. We need and want more than what NY and LA produce. Canada is not just geography, industry and politics; it’s a place with a soul and a mind. Writers, painters, musicians and all the other arts are continuing to build this land, from esprit to esprit as well as from sea to sea.

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