Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Nuance vs. Notoriety

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Nuance vs. Notoriety

For the longest time, I’ve been of the strong belief of the writerly life as associated with an either/or mentality: concision and painstaking precision, or, as writer Jack Kerouac would put it in his "Rules for Spontaneous Prose", "Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy."

To invoke Kerouac would seem necessary for this piece, but I’d rather deconstruct the mysterious relationship between the creative mind and self-destructive behavior that has often plagued the cultural currency of the literary vocation, and made, however problematically, writerly "authenticity" synonymous with being deliberately irresponsible. Can we have romance instead of romanticism? Can we be good to ourselves enough, so our writing can also be “good” for others? How to balance clarity of mind and precision of craft?

And I know. I get that money has replaced imagination, for the most part, because it is the most useful in the face of the void.

Yet, what do we make of the void? Alas, the writers will most likely arise. That’s the job we’re to be paid for, and the job for which we live.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Adebe DeRango-Adem

Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been published in various North American sources, including Descant, CV2, Canadian Woman Studies and the Toronto Star. She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto’s first Junior Poet Laureate. Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo, was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She is also the co-editor, alongside Andrea Thompson, of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out. She was recommended by current Poet Laureate of Canada George Elliott Clarke as a young black "writer to watch".

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Go to Adebe DeRango-Adem’s Author Page