Balance the books

“The failure of our early film industry was a power­ful warning for artists and politicians. It set the context for the Conservative government’s decision in 1932 to intervene in the communications market and to create a national public broadcaster, the original CBC. Following the Second World War, Canada saw a remarkable growth in cultural awareness, buttressed by policies and programs that gave Canadians more space to express our cultures and identities. Music, theatre, radio, and museums all benefited, as did publishing. But today many of those working in the literary arts, especially independent publishers, are sounding alarm bells.”

Victor Rabinovitch – Literary Review of Canada – May 2020


It all adds up

“It is hard to credit, but a tone of eager, unmistakable hostility attends much of the commentary surrounding Saul Bellow’s relationship to Canada. ‘His writings have absolutely nothing to do with this country or its citizens or its culture or its psyche,’ wrote Thomas Hodd in a Globe and Mail article, written on the heels of Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize win, whose very title (“Stop Calling Foreign Writers ‘Canadian'”) seems indelibly fringed with ire. Though the substance of Hodd’s comment is demonstrably false—before abandoning graduate work in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Bellow began a thesis on French-Canadian acculturation—it’s the thrust of Hodd’s animus, that glimmer of jovial myopia, that grates.”

Rod Moody-Corbett – Canadian Notes & Queries – February 2020


Jadine Ngan – Maisonneuve – February 2020

The arts of the deal

“To be a cultural worker in Canada is to be a filler of forms. If the American cultural scene is structured by entrepreneurialism and private foundations, our creative endeavours are highly dependent on direct government support. Canadian artists have a high degree of freedom, but their activities are fostered through subsidies and state regulations, especially with respect to Canadian content requirements. This is both a gift and a curse.”

Darrell Varga – Literary Review of Canada – February 2020

How to Make It As an Indie Cartoonist

“Diligent and hard-working, beloved by editors as a consummate pro, Wright carved out a patchwork career for himself as a cartoonist in Canada, but he had long dreamed of making it big in America, where top syndicated cartoonists were wealthy celebrities. This was not an idle fantasy but a simple financial reality: the most successful Canadian-born cartoonists of that era were those who had left for the United States, be they Palmer Cox (creator of marketing phenomenon The Brownies), Richard Taylor (a fixture in The New Yorker) or Hal Foster (celebrated chronicler of Prince Valiant). If Wright could follow their paths, he wouldn’t have to keep juggling assignments and could focus his talents on one strip.”

Jeet Heer – The Walrus – December 2019

Why the World Needs ‘Anne with an E’

“Lucas Jade Zumann, who plays Gilbert Blythe, is well aware of how these prop fitters wrestling with branches are the crux of the show. ‘In this business, if someone is doing their job well, no one will notice,’ he tells me. ‘No one notices perfect sound mixing or an impeccable prop department, but they notice when it fails. Every person who is doing their job here is doing it so well that you can’t even tell they’re doing it when you watch the show. That is the real magic.'”

James Mullinger – The Maritime Edit – November 2019

Robbie Robertson’s Last Waltz

“Something even more transporting—and transformative—happened when he was nine. After lunch one day, his relatives set off into the bush, and Robbie followed them for half a mile until they arrived at a narrow, one-room building his mother told him was called a longhouse. A few minutes later, an older man entered the longhouse and sat down in a large pine and birch chair, draped in animal pelts. Everyone gathered, the kids cross-legged at his feet. The elder tapped his walking stick on the floor and proceeded to recount, with vivid imagery and riveting suspense, the tale of the Great Peacemaker who founded the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Robbie was mesmerized. He told his mother that one day, he was going to tell stories like that.”

Jason McBride – Toronto Life – October 2019

The Queen B

Emily Landau – Toronto Life – September 2019

Céline Dion is Everywhere

Suzannah Showler – The Walrus – August 2019

In a climate crisis, artists have a duty to speak up – but what should they say?

“From Bluffs Park on Galiano Island, you can watch the ferries chug through Active Pass, making their way between Galiano and Mayne Island. It’s the kind of view that takes away whatever breath you have left after the climb, that makes you fall head-over-heels in love with the land. How lucky we are to be here, to live in this part of the world, the author Michael Christie and I said to each other on a fine June afternoon. But, in time, the conversation turned a little darker.”

Marsha Lederman – The Globe and Mail – August 2019