Friday, November 03, 2023

History of the Writers' Union of Canada

Today, November 3, 2023 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Writers' Union of Canada. It may not be quite as lively as it used to be but remains a redoubtable force in Canadian culture.  I was not there at the founding, but I've been a member for a good part of that time, and at one point chaired the organization.

They sent us each an elegantly decorated cookie to celebrate the day. That's it sitting atop my little oral history of the Union's beginnings. I plan to eat it at some point today. 

The Union from the very start introduced itself to the Canada Council, to the Ontario Arts Council, and they responded to us as professionals. We haven't always won what we'd like to win, but we've had an eye on the whole thing.  

What we really were concerned about was -- how to say -- managing the professionalism. Managing how writers were being treated by publishers, by governments, and establishing a sense of authority for the profession.

         -- Graeme Gibson, from Founding the Writers' Union of Canada: An Oral History 


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