Open Book

From Edward Greenspon, “Why Canada’s an open book”, Globe and Mail, September 28, 2002, p. A2, during his time as the newspaper’s editor, a position he had assumed earlier that year:

“What is a Canadian? You tell me what a Canadian is.” …Lisa Jardine, chairwoman of the Man Booker Prize jury, was marvelling at the diversity of Canadian fiction.

…[the Booker nominations] had just been released and…three Canadians were among the final six.

…The nomination of these three particular novelists speaks not just to the excellence of our literature, but of Canada’s openness to the world and, flowing from that, the universalism of the Canadian experience. We’re building a society here in Canada that can serve as a model to a world in transition. That, in turn, places a responsibility on us to ensure success.

Carol Shields, an immigrant to Canada. Born in Oak Park, Ill, in 1935. Studied in Ottawa, became famous in Manitoba, now resides in Victoria.

Rohinton Mistry, an immigrant to Canada. Born in Bombay, India, 1952. Lives in Southern Ontario.

Yann Martel, a Québecois, born in Salamanca, Spain, in 1963. Currently a resident of Montreal.

What is a Canadian? It is an interesting question to ponder.

…The answer comes in the adherence to a common set of values. And the first of these–call it freedom of expression, call it tolerance or respect–is absolutely essential if our experiment as a global society in the bosom of a single nation is to succeed…

And in 2002 the Booker was won by Yann Martel, for Life of Pi.

And in 2011, three Canadians were on the Booker longlist, and two the year before.

Only three Canadians have won the Booker, since its creation in 1969: Yann Martel in 2002, Margaret Atwood in 2000 (The Blind Assassin) and Michael Ondaatje in 1992 (The English Patient, award shared with Barry Unsworth [Sacred Hunger]).

Global society in a single nation. Something other than experiment.


About brucelarochelle
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