Monday, February 16, 2009

Schools and Canadian Authors

I just read an article by Marc Côté (for whom I happen to have the utmost respect!)

and felt his words spoke directly to me for three reasons:

1. Growing up, I loved Edgar Allen Poe.

2. I went on to become a huge Stephen King fan. I also enjoyed the works of Anne Rice, (who was truly an inspiration!) and Dean Koontz.

3. One of my favourite all-time novels is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird AND not only haven’t I read Gwenthalyn Graham’s Earth and High Heaven, I’d never even heard of it. (It’s now definitely on my list of things to read!)

But despite all this, I find myself questioning whether my education and the system’s lack of promoting Canadian authors had anything to do with my taste and the writers I gravitated toward. Media? Absolutely. But not sure about the schools…

In elementary school, two novels I studied that still stand out in my mind today are Luke Baldwin’s Vow (Morely Callahan—Canadian) and Underground to Canada (Barbara Smucker—American). Sadly, I can’t remember many others, though this is more a reflection of my aging mind than anything else.

In high school, I was definitely exposed to a variety of Canadian writers—Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Margaret Atwood’s Lady Oracle, and Margaret Lawrence’s The Diviners, are those that come to mind.

I have to agree with Mr. Côté that American and British authors are far better promoted by the media, but by the schools (at least back in my day)?…hmmm…still thinking on that…

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