Since November 2011, the website Canadian Writers Abroad has been promoting exactly that: Canadian writers who live and work abroad.
Before Canadian Literature got going in the 1960s, Canadians who wanted to publish sent their work to either the United Kingdom or the United States. Often they went too. Morley Callaghan, Mavis Gallant, Margaret Laurence, and Mordecai Richler wrote their early work from Europe. But Mavis Gallant was the only one to stay – she remained in Paris until her death in 2014. Until Gallant published a book of stories set in Canada, Home Truths, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1981, she was relatively unknown in Canada. Out of sight out of mind.
Much has changed. Today’s writers have more choice in developing their careers, whether they do an MFA abroad or at home, whether they find an agent in New York or London or Toronto. Some choose to go abroad. Leaving home now isn’t the same as it was even 25 years ago, when a manuscript mailed from East Africa could take weeks to reach its Canadian editor. With the internet, authors can maintain their media presence through websites and social networking. Or can they? After the hype of a book coming out, they might find attention in Canada fading away. Just as expats have to work at maintaining friendships back home, so too authors have to work at maintaining their public profile in Canada. Canadian Writers Abroad provides a forum to do so.
Why do Canadian authors go abroad, what do they find, how do they like it, are there any difficulties, and how does it affect their work? These are some of the questions writers answer in interviews on Canadian Writers Abroad. Also on Canadian Writers Abroad:
Reviews of books by Canadians who live or have lived abroad.
Guest posts, such as this memoir by Isabel Huggan
Get it Out There – where to submit your work
Time and a Place – on writing workshops, conferences, festivals. Can you recommend one?
Do you know a Canadian writer living abroad? Let us know. Would you like to review a book by a writing living abroad? Get in touch.
The editor of Canadian Writers Abroad, Debra Martens, is a Canadian writer who makes her living as a freelance editor. She has written from Nairobi, New Delhi, Vienna and England.