amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, September 09, 2010

20 minute rant – literary events’ lack of coverage in O-Town

Apt613 is a great blog. it covers all kinds of events and cultural curiosities in Ottawa, anything from spoken word to theatre and art openings. there are other blogs and websites and magazines covering Ottawa too. and what’s great is that one of them will post info on an event and then suddenly the others will too and on a blue moon in a month of Sundays, so will the Ottawa Citizen. that means the event has a bunch of coverage, which is excellent. that’s the idea. what’s the rule of advertising? something has to be mentioned three times in order for people to buy it.
bandwagon jumping works.

but this is not the case for literary events in Ottawa. granted the Citizen included literary series in its recent annual feature on fall events and that’s wonderful, but as a rule, it doesn’t include in the print newspaper Tree events, rarely includes the Dusty Owl, or many other readings happening in Ottawa, with the exception of the Ottawa International Writers Festival (which i believe it sponsors, thank goodness).

Bywords.ca (she says with some bias, obviously) tries to provide coverage of as many literary events as possible happening within the National Capital Region with both literary and NCR applied very broadly so that we include cook book signings in Almonte if we know about them.

rob mclennan offers a great list of literary events in the city as does Patrick Meikle thru Writers Deadline, but there aren’t bandwagon jumpers. Apt13 and other new and up and coming young blogs simply don’t promote literary events. When i’ve mentioned it before to other bloggers, i’ve been told that the bloggers don’t know about the literary scene in Ottawa so can’t write about it. and yet apparently they know all about theatre and slam and art and music so feel comfortable writing about those. i don’t buy it. it’s a kind of reverse snobbery. the label poetry makes a lot of people turn their noses up. i hate generalizations and prejudice. this is an example. this town is prejudiced against poetry and fiction. the media won’t cover these activities if there doesn’t seem to be any interest. and without bandwagon jumpers, it sure looks like there’s no interest.

and yet when you look at a month of events on the bywords.ca calendar, there are so many readings, book signings, slams, workshops and more. lots of stuff is going on in the literary community but the general public doesn’t know about it. events are still pretty well attended anyway, which shows you how great the scene is, but if you write a blog that covers culture and recreation in Ottawa, i urge you, no, i beg you to cover the literary events. it doesn’t take much, simply go to the bywords.ca calendar and cut and paste from there. as an extra step, google the writer and put in a link. pretty please? pretty please with sugar on top? or how about a bite on the ass?

3 comments:

Kate (and Mike) said...

I hear ya, Amanda! (and I feel a little, nagging guilt about having ignored my own lit blog for so long... thanks for lighting a little fire under my overcommitted ass to put a few words in the blogosphere every so often!)

Amanda said...

even just a wee word about what you're up to on literary landscapes would be good :)

Kate (and Mike) said...

I'll try! (Will tell the rest, too!)