Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The true story: Charles Foran, Anna Porter and Donald Antrim talk about mixing fact and fabrication in memoirs

Charles Foran talks to Anna Porter and Donald Antrim in a Words at Large Podcast on CBC's website, recorded during Montreal's Blue Metropolis in May. A pretty interesting discussion, on truth, lies and memoir.

I've noticed with a lot of these organizations that they almost never mention a writer's book with a small or independent press, even if it is, as is the case with Charles, their most recent title. Harper Collins looks much more impressive, I suppose, than Biblioasis in the by-line. {Though it is possible that I am just growing paranoid. Alex Good pointed out that with the Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories what unites all of the writers is that they have made the jump from small presses to big presses (with the exception of Virgil Burnett, Adrienne Clarkson and Carol Windley). Even in Mrs. Urquhart's response to Q&Q about the Salon, she singled out three of about 5 writers associated with larger houses, ignoring those who are mainly associated with small, independent ones. Good wrote that small presses should feel truly dissed, and he is right, I think. As usual, more perceptive than the rest of us.

Trolling through the discussions about the Conservative Government's assault on art funding last eve, I came across the suggestion, more than once, that if work is good it is going to get noticed. If it falls beneath the radar, it more than likely deserves it. It's obvious that this is an opinion shared not only by Joe and Jane Canadian, but by editors and copy editors at the Big Houses, national and independent media and others as well. READ: Big=good; small=less-so.

Oh, hell: rant stemmed. Time to close these brackets.}

check out the discussion here:

www.cbc.ca/wordsatlarge/blog/2008/08/the_true_story_charles_foran_a_1.html

1 comment:

Alex said...

Hey Dan, nice looking new blog!

Just to clarify what I was saying in the Star piece (in part because I think what I said has been a bit misinterpreted): My reference was to "novelists whose earlier work in the short story form Urquhart has discovered." What I was trying to say was that the career trajectory (from short story to novel) was apparently less important than the move from small press to big publishing house. Dennis Bock, Michael Crummey, Lynn Coady, Michael Winter, Timothy Taylor, Rohinton Mistry, Joseph Boyden, Madeleine Thien, Michael Redhill all fit in this category. (The Salon writers I mentioned had also moved, at least temporarily, from short stories to novels but stayed with small presses -- Glover, Jarman, Barnes, etc.) I was also saying something about writers of this particular generation (that was left out of the piece as published). Carol Windley, Adrienne Clarkson/Poy and Virgil Burnett don't really fit in the same category. Windley is a sort-of exception, maybe, but her most recent book was a collection of short stories and she's an older writer (no offence). Clarkson and Burnett I don't know much about, but I don't think they have careers that have had the same shape.