Canlit magazines – the quest for survival

There has been a fair amount of coverage of the plight of Canada’s literary magazines over the past few months, which risk an untimely end if the wrong-headed Canada Periodical Fund comes into being as proposed in February: their long-term fate still hangs in the balance. The conditions of the fund are that support will only be provided to journals with paid subscriptions of more than 5000, which rules out pretty much every literary journal in the country. The summer break is a good time to carry on reminding our legislators of the importance of these publications, and that they cannot survive if pitted against for-profit publications.

In these crazed times where market-happy management grads attempt to reduce every aspect of life to a business model, we need to wake up and admit that not everything – certainly not culture, not food production – can or should be run on a ruthlessly corporate model; and that you may cripple or ruin some of your most essential industries by imposing “efficiencies” and cost-cutting measures upon them.

Literary magazines are hugely important to Canada. They’re the first place we’ve seen so many of our literary greats in print; they carry a permanent legacy of our literature’s evolution – the paper and ink of print publication, blending more and more with an online presence; and they simply cannot survive in our under-populated country without the aid of grants, any more than can our literary publishers.

If you’re a Canadian, please take a moment to sign the online petition that The New Quarterly has set up; or print off the pdf version from Arc. You can also join the Facebook group: Coalition to Keep Federal Support of Literary, Scholarly and Arts Magazines.

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