Congratulations and best of luck to the three individuals who have been nominated by carte blanche for the 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize: Maria Camila Arias, Tasnuva Hayden, and Alonso Gamarra!
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a writer in possession of a good idea, must be in want of a grant. Last year I was on a Canada Council granting jury, and it not only enlightened me as to how the whole process works, it also renewed my faith in the Canada Council in general, and in the granting process in particular.
Over the years some of my writer friends had gotten the distinct impression that the Canada Council was this edifice of insiders. Those who got grants kept getting them, and those on the juries awarded grants to their writer friends. And this bitter conviction stopped many of them from applying. “I’m not going to win anyway, so why try?” It doesn’t help that by default, a writer’s life is an incessant litany of rejection.
But after having been on the jury, I’m now convinced we all should apply annually.
carte blanche is pleased to announce Carolin Huang has been named guest poetry editor for the winter 2020 issue of the magazine!
Carolin Huang is a writer, archivist, and academic living in Montreal. In 2019, she participated in the Banff Centre Emerging Writers Intensive and the Jack Kerouac Summer Writing Program.
“I’m writing a novel in English that’s inspired by wǔxiá fiction.”
As I finished speaking in Mandarin, forty middle school students stared back at me with stunned eyes. It was as if I had suddenly transformed into a xiákè, a wandering warrior, who had stepped out of the pages of a wǔxiá novel and into their classroom in Chóngqìng, China. In reality, I was only a visiting writer and translator, with no martial arts skills or supernatural powers, recently returned to visit the land of my birth.
Gasps and questions continued, becoming louder and louder.
Mrs. Hé shushed her students and turned to me with awe. “Wǔxiá fiction is so rooted in traditional Chinese literature and culture. How can you write wǔxiá in English?”
I wonder sometimes if navigating the line between fiction and non-fiction and being steadily clear on which side of this line you’re on is a curse only authors of marginalized backgrounds and identities must balance on. The logic holds because, to my knowledge, non-marginalized authors are not asked about the truth in their fiction or the imagination in their memoirs: No one asks French-Canadian Booker winning author Yann Martel about his experiences living on a boat for 227 days with a tiger and a zebra. No one wonders if Elizabeth Gilbert inserted a bit of fiction into her memoir of eating pasta, practicing Shavasana, and drinking wine with a warm-blooded Latin lover.