Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

YOUR TURN

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I hear from your comments that you like the interviews, so there will be more coming. I like them too. One my favourite jobs is intervewing artists of every ilk for Focus Magazine. It is a privilege to glimpse artist's lives in relation to the work they do. I used to have a book show on television. Same story. It isn't always true, but with many people, the more you know them, the more you like them and respect their contribution.

Some of you reacted with dismay to the Antonio D'Alfonso interview. Antonio is very transparent in his reactions. He is Italian, after all! There is no doubt he knows the value of his contribution to our multi-cultural reality, but, because publishing is an act of love, it hurts that what is given in love is not always acknowledged by the public, by critics who often overlook stunning work, or by a government that thinks the cultural sector is dispensible, particularly a government that has much to fear when writers and other artists are honest in their evauation of the society in which they live.

Antonio is right. Publishing is often a very demoralising acitvity. The pay sucks and the abuse is regular.

I have made a lot of noise about the Conservative attempts to muzzle us. It is not personal. I care more about the big picture than my part in it. However, I will tell you that I had planned to travel to the Holguin Jazz Festival in Cuba with the band Sweet Papa Lowdown next month. We were refused travel funding by External Affairs. Do you think that was because of competition? I doubt it. We have never been turned down before and our tours in Europe, Asia and the Americas have resulted in valued diplomacy. This Canadian Government is playing footsie with Bush on Cuba, which needs its Canadian friendships, now more than ever. The hurricanes have left the Cubans in shreds.

When we go to Cuba, where we have formed literary, musical and humanitarian relationships, we take much needed medicine, clothing and personal care items. The children light up when we give them school supplies. Normally, they have to share pencils and chalk, and paper is a luxury. I know many brilliant musicians who share instruments, in one case twelve on one guitar.

When I spoke to students at the University of Havana a couple of years ago, I said, "You are the wave of the future because you already know what we must learn, how to live with less."

We are at the half way point in this blog. I have enjoyed the opportunity to talk about books and related matters, and I would be very happy to respond to queries from you.

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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Linda Rogers

Linda Rogers is the author of the novels Say My Name (Ekstasis Editions, 2000), Friday Water (Cormorant Books, 2003) and The Empress Letters (Cormorant Books, 2007). She has also published several collections of poetry, including Love in the Rainforest (Exile Editions, 1996), Heaven Cake (Sono Nis Press, 1997), The Saning (Sono Nis Press, 1999) and The Bursting Test (Guernica Editions, 2002).

Go to Linda Rogers’s Author Page