Writers ‘Trust of Canada launches BIPOC writers’ books support program launched during pandemic

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The Writers ‘Trust of Canada has selected 25 books to participate in a new program, WT Amplified Voices, which aims to promote BIPOC’s writers’ books published during the pandemic.

“The goal is to provide these writers with additional opportunities to showcase their work,” said the Writers’ Trust of Canada, an organization that supports the Canadian literary community with awards and mentorship programs, in a press release. hurry.

One of the books chosen is the mid-level novel Haunted hospital by Edmonton writer Marty Chan. The children’s book follows a group of anti-ghost teens who are trapped in a hospital abandoned by spirits from another world.

Chan was preparing to promote Haunted hospital in early 2020, just before the pandemic began to spread across Canada. He had planned a list of school visits which were immediately canceled.

“Obviously [the book] hit at the worst time, ”Chan said in an interview with CBC Books.

“It was like, ‘Hey, I have this book – oh, I can’t go to schools and do presentations. But this is a hospital, isn’t it scary ?! , wait. Oh, my dear. “

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted in-person literary festivals, bookstore events, and classroom visits, making it more difficult for writers to present their work to readers.

The Writers’ Trust said the Amplified Voices initiative will focus on digital events, including live author interviews and social media takeovers. Chan said the program provides funding for writers to expand their online presence, as well as access to Writers’ Trust digital resources.

“I am really excited [about WT Amplified Voices] because obviously living with the pandemic for the past two years and trying to promote a book has been incredibly difficult, ”Chan said.

“Often what turns children on to read the most is when they meet the author who wrote these books and talk about the story behind the story.”

Chan has published dozens of books for young people and mid-level writers and is well versed in the hustle and bustle of promoting the book. He called his pre-pandemic self a ‘Luddite’ when it came to tech, but he’s now put together a digital presentation, filled with graphics and videos, so he can make virtual classroom tours more dynamic.

The 25 books chosen come from 21 publishers and represent a range of writers and genres across the country, including collections of poetry like nedi nezu (Good Medicine), a fun and straightforward approach to Indigenous romance and sexuality by Tenille K. Campbell from Saskatoon, tongue of sulfur by Rebecca Salazar of Fredericton and Coming of Age Book Small, broken and a little dirty by Hana Shafi from Toronto.

There is also a list of first fiction on the list, from the dystopian novel Gutter child by Jael Richardson at the romantic comedy Made in Korea by Sarah Suk, as well as non-fiction like Not reconciled by Jesse Wente and picture books such as My day with Gong Gong by Sennah Yee, illustrated by Elaine Chen.

The books were chosen by a committee of five: Allan Cho, editor of Ricepaper Magazine and director of the LiterASIAN festival; Jessica Johns, winner of the 2020 Journey Award; Ardo Omer, the children’s coordinator at the Festival of Literary Diversity; Trina Roache, a Mi’kmaq journalist; and Bianca Spence, book publishing consultant at Ontario Creates.

Chan said the initiative is “a small step forward” in making Canadian literature a fairer place for BIPOC writers.

“I think it’s great in the sense that it focuses on a group of writers who have probably been overlooked before,” Chan said.

The program will run from December to March 2022, starting with a conversation with Norma Dunning, who won the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction for Tainna: The Invisibles.

The full list of 25 books is:

The Writers’ Trust of Canada was founded in 1976 by Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, Graeme Gibson, Margaret Laurence and David Young.

The organization donated more than $ 970,000 to support Canadian writers in 2020.


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