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When it comes to POC representation, don't judge a book by its cover.
"Writing has saved me from myself. It’s a ceremonial space, a confessional space," says Joshua Whitehead.
The terrible truth is that there is often no justice for women who speak out about sexual assault and sexual harassment, and as such it can take every ounce of will for women to honour their own experiences and not be silenced. The Boyden letter takes that juggernaut of misogyny and with the weight of authority crushes it down on those students who lodged complaints against Steven Galloway.
Barring a few twists, turns and name changes, Either Side of 55 is a reflection of a period of the author's life, and offers insight into the lives of the men who blazed survey lines and staked and jumped claims on both sides of the 55th Parallel in the quest for mineral riches for themselves and their employers.
Coming up in a heteronormative world can be crushing to anyone who doesn't fit that mold. A lot of us who knew early that we were different also knew whether that difference was welcome -- or was to be removed. Queer writers have mined, and are mining, the insights that abandonment, isolation and violence have gifted us.
So there you have it: censorship takes place when authorities -- i.e. those with real power -- issue fatwas, demand a book be withdrawn, remove it from schools/libraries, burn or otherwise prevent people from reading it. It would be censorship if Mr. Harper's Minister of literature turned around and said, "Take that sucker off the shelves. No one's gonna read about tampon lollipops on my watch!" No matter how hard Galloway et al. twists it, a petition to the Canada Council to reconsider an award just doesn't qualifies as censorship in the real world.
I recently ended up on a talk radio show based in my hometown of Calgary. "Is this Rae Spoon?" asked the interviewer. "Yes, it is," I replied. "And you are transgender, right?" "Yes, I am." "And we're supposed to use a different word for you?"...In over 10 years, through the hundreds of interviews I'd done with people firing questions at me about being transgender, I had always tried to avoid answering the ones that sounded like they were something off of Jerry Springer.
Canadian playwright (screenwriter and director and producer) extraordinaire Brad Fraser has been lighting up Canada's literary scene for many years. Outside of his stage projects, he shares his blunt take on politics and other hot topics in Xtra Magazine every month in his Fraser's Edge column. Like the man himself, his columns are reasoned, outspoken, often witty, and never boring.
Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers is right in my wheelhouse -- a funny, dark, story-driven literary western; a character study that explores sibling bonds and the consequences of violence. I recently got the chance to ask Patrick about The Sisters Brothers.