Saturday, February 26, 2011

FINDING THE WORDS, ed. Jared Bland (2011) McClelland & Stewart, 297 pages

This FINDING THE WORDS anthology celebrating WRITERS ON INSPIRATION, DESIRE, WAR, CELEBRITY, EXILE AND BREAKING THE RULES is a fundraiser for PEN Canada, one of the organizations I have supported for years. PEN centres around the world defend freedom of expression and support writers who have been silenced because of their work. As the editor explains in the introduction, "To ensure that as much of the anthology's cover price will go directly to PEN Canada, McClelland & Stewart is contributing all of its resources in the publication of the book and Random House of Canada is contributing its warehousing and shipping costs. Friesens is also providing its printing services at a significant discount."

Between these carefully curated pages you'll find pieces by Canadian luminaries including David Bezmozgis, Emma Donoghue, Steven Heighton, Lisa Moore, Alice Munro, Heather O'Neill and Michael Winter. There is even a transcription of the conversation between legendary British editor-turned-memoirist Diana Athill and Alice Munro from the Opening Night International Festival of Authors event that I co-chaired in October 2009.

What strikes me about each of the pieces included is their intimacy. You'll read about one author's father who struggled to become literate as an adult and another who confesses that "the solitude of writing is nothing compared to the emptiness of being between books."

Using language is a right that must be defended. Please do your part and purchase a copy of FINDING THE WORDS and check out other ways to support PEN Canada by visiting its website:

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