On Monday Alexis Kienlen, my friend and colleague, tweeted about Project Bookmark Canada. The people behind this project are placing plaques with excerpts from Canadian literature at the locations described in the work. For example, there is an excerpt from Fugitive Pieces at College and Manning Streets in Toronto.
Alexis is now campaigning to bookmark the Prairies, and from the brief Twitter conversations we’ve had with the Project Bookmark organizers, they seem quite open to this. So if you love your Western Canadian lit, be sure to sign up as a reader so we can get this train moving!
This got me thinking about the places I love that have also made their way into Canadian lit. I live in Livelong, a tiny town that may seem like it should inspire more Star Trek jokes than art. But that’s not the case at all.
Rudy Wiebe was born just a little east of here, in a now-deserted community called Speedwell, and his work includes references to the area. Edna Alford set some of her brilliant short stories here, including The Lineman (which is in her second collection, The Garden of Eloise Loon). Byrna Barclay has transported readers here frequently, including in her debut novel, Summer of the Hungry Pup. Brenda Niskala published a lovely collection of short stories a couple years ago, many of which were set at Deer Run (that’s code for Turtle Lake, which is a few miles north of Livelong).
(As an aside, this also made me realize that if I ever run out of other things to write about on this blog, I can easily document several nearby places that appear in Canadian literature. This is a relief, because my Plan B was to post photos of my cat because, well, everyone seems to like cats on the Internet).
The list above is just a small bit of Saskatchewan, never mind the rest of the Prairies and B.C. Here’s a snack-sized sample of other candidates for Project Bookmark:
- Winnipeg – Kiss of the Fur Queen
- Regina – Euphoria
- Edmonton – The Office Tower Tales
- Calgary – A Hummingbird Dance
- Courtenay, B.C. – A Recipe for Bees
We have a rich literary history. We could bookmark the hell out of Western Canada, no problem.
So let’s do it. Sign up for Project Bookmark Canada. Contact the organizers, spread the word.