Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts: CWILA

In response to the recent VIDA conversation that came into Canada [see my own post on such here], Vancouver poet Gillian Jerome has created CWILA: Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, a new website and organization worth paying attention to, with a ton of interesting interviews. The site itself is here, and here is a fraction of the "About Us" page. You should become a member and donate. There's no reason at all that there aren't as many works discussed by women as there are discussed by men. Not a single reason.
About Us

CWILA (Canadian Women in the Literary Arts) is an inclusive national literary organization for people who share feminist values and see the importance of strong and active female perspectives and presences within the Canadian literary landscape.

CWILA was founded by poet and essayist Gillian Jerome in response to a conversation on gender representation in Canadian literary reviews that was started by poet, novelist, blogger and critic Sina Queryas on her blog  Lemon Hound and continued by poet, blogger and metalhead Natalie Zina Walschots (a.k.a. Nathalie Zed) on her blog www.nataliezed.ca. The conversation expanded to include a wide range of women active in various literary communities across the country calling for a discursive space to address the politics of representation, the critical reception of women’s writing in the literary press and the ways in which we can foster stronger critical communities of women of all ages including genderqueer writers, indigenous writers, as well as other women and/or genderqueer writers of colour.

CWILA continues the path set by the US organization VIDA, founded in 2009 ”to address the need for female writers of literature to engage in conversations regarding the critical reception of women’s creative writing in our current culture.” VIDA conducts an annual project “to count the rates of publication between women and men in many of our writing world’s most respected literary outlets.” None of the literary outlets counted by VIDA are Canadian.

So in May 2012, CWILA members began a count to document the rates at which men and women were being published and reviewed in fourteen Canadian literary publications in 2011. The results can be viewed here.

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