January 10, 2009

WHAT ABOUT THE NOVELIZATION OF STRANGE BREW BY THE MCKENZIE BROTHERS?

Half of us can’t identify a Canadian writer. (Mark Medley, with files from Sarah Schmidt, 1/09/09, National Post

We're talking about the results of the 357-page 2008 Canadian Books Readership Study, commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage and prepared by Harris/Decima Research. Participants were queried on subjects ranging from the numbers of books they read each year to their familiarity with e-books. But it was the response concerning Canadian writers that is most troubling to the industry: 46% of the 1,502 people polled last June could not name a single author when asked: "Please name some Canadian authors you have heard of." Among those who could name one, Margaret Atwood was most cited, at 22%. Both Pierre Berton and Farley Mowat followed with 8% each. Children's author Robert Munsch received 2%, while Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery received 1%.

What's more disconcerting is who wasn't named. Booker Prize-winning novelist Yann Martel was named by only nine of the 801 people who could name an author. The Oprah-approved Anne-Marie MacDonald fared even worse, with three citations.

Writing on his blog following the study's release, Michael Bryson, a Toronto writer and founder of popular literary website The Danforth Review, said the news isn't that people couldn't name Canadian authors, it was that "Canada's literary culture clearly hasn't renewed itself." He has a point. Among the 20 authors most often mentioned, none is younger than 50 (Douglas Coupland, 47, checks in at 21st place). Of the top 13, six are dead.


And this classic:

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2009 9:10 AM
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