Writing grants, classes bad for lit?
CREATIVE writing programs and literary grants are harmful to literature because they cut writers off from the world, Swedish Academy member and Nobel Prize judge Horace Engdahl told a French newspaper. According to the Guardian, Engdahl explained in the interview with the French newspaper La Crois that great writers of the past, such as Samuel Beckett, worked as cab drivers, waiters or clerks to support themselves, and that this experience “fed” their literary perspectives. Engdahl’s bio on the Swedish Academy website describes his doctoral dissertation and books on literary critical theory, but is mum on the subject of driving fares through the mean midnight streets of Stockholm. One of the most influential aboriginal writers in Canada — U.S.-born Thomas King — returned to literary fiction this fall with The Back of the Turtle, named last week to the shortlist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. King, whose career highlights include the non-fiction The Inconvenient Indian, the novel Green Grass, Running Water, and the CBC radio show Dead Dog Café, will appear in conversation with University of Manitoba native studies professor Niigaanwiwedam James Sinclair Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Sinclair is co-editor of The Winter We Danced, a book of writings, interviews and speeches from the Idle No More movement of 2012-13. Readers of the literary magazine Rhubarb can support international development, gardens and literature at the launch of the journal’s 36th edition, titled Earth and Gardens. Admission to the launch, featuring a reading by poet Angeline Schellenberg, includes a $5 donation to each of the Mennonite Literary Society (publishers of Rhubarb), the Mennonite Central Committee and the Mennonite Economic Development Association’s Gardens for Afghanistan project. The event runs at café and used bookstore Sam’s Place at 159 Henderson Hwy., Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. A friend and public relations adviser to the late Margaret Thatcher has called on Scotland Yard to investigate Booker Prize-winning novelist Hilary Mantel ( Wolf Hall) for a short story entitled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. The story, printed in the Guardian in September, presents an IRA gunman and a Labourite suburban homeowner conspiring to kill the polarizing Thatcher, who either saved her nation from becoming a foggy Greece or made the country into a Dickensian nightmare. The Guardian notes that Lord Timothy Bell, the Thatcherite who called for police action against Mantel, has previously done PR work for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Asma al-Assad, wife of the Syrian dictator. A pair of poets will offer their expertise to help local writers this year at the Winnipeg Public Library and the University of Winnipeg. Di Brandt, who teaches English and creative writing at Brandon University, started her term as this year’s WPL writer-in-residence this month. Brandt, whose poetry collections include Walking to Mojacar, beloved, Jerusalem and questions i ask my mother, will work out of the Millennium Library until April. For details on getting a manuscript reviewed by Brandt, consult the WPL website. Meanwhile, the U of W announced that Winnipeg poet Jennifer Still, winner of the 2012 John Hirsch Award for the most promising Manitoba writer and author of the collections Girlwood and Saltations, will serve as the university’s Carol Shields writer-inresidence in February and March.