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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

They debate hotly about literature in Canada, too

Almost a year ago, The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories was published without much fuss, but suddenly it has provoked another round in the Canadian literature culture wars.

In response to anthology editor Jane Urquhart's selections for the anthology and her admission that she felt a "nagging suspicion that perhaps I was not the person best suited to the task," two literary magazines - The New Quarterly and Canadian Notes and Queries - have joined forces to celebrate a Salon des Refusés, featuring stories by 20 writers (10 in each magazine) not included in the Penguin anthology.

In an essay in Sunday's Toronto Star, Alex Good discusses the aesthetic and thematic differences between the two anthologies. However, the main difference seems to be that the Penguin anthology features more writers who "made the jump to big publishing houses," while the Salon and Century List represents more small press/litmag fare.

Urquhart responded in Quill & Quire, commenting that she admires many of the authors included in the Salon de Refusés, adding, "If they were excluded, they were excluded for any number of reasons, quality not being the primary one."
Good essay (Toronto Star)
Urquhart response (Quill & Quire)

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