Sunday, 12 August 2007


Yann Martel wrote the "The Life of Pi" which won the Man Booker Prize in 2002. It's a great read. He is a Canadian writer and was chosen this April to be one of 50 artists selected by the Canada Council to represent the work of the Council over its 50 years of existance. He received a grant from the council in 1991 which helped him when he was writing his first novel.

You have to read his own account of the acknowledgement (or lack of it) that the group of distinguished artists received from the government but this spurred him on to send the prime minister, Stephen Harper, one book to read every two weeks as long as his governement are in power. Artists are worried in Canada, as in many other countries, where support of the arts fits into the government agendas. The Return on Investment on the arts is a little harder to calculate on spreadsheets than a Honda Factory.

So every two weeks he posts a book to the prime minister, including a short descriptive note about the book and why he should read it and invites the prime minister to comment. The first book received a polite acknowledgement of receipt but his office and since then, nothing. The notes are worth reading. They are on his website

The selection includes novels and poetry, which is great and from all over the world, a mix of styles and centuries too. I've only read 3 of them mentioned so far. How many have you read? And here's a question. Which books would you send to Bertie or Gordon to help them in the appreciation of the arts?

Apparently the prime minister said a few years ago that his favourite book was The Guinness Book of Records. Maybe Yann Martel's selections will change his mind.

1 comment:

econgirl said...

oh i didn't know about that - sounds interesting. I've read three (Animal Farm, Bonjour T and another that i've forgotten!) Really like the site by the way. I dabble in a bit of short fiction myself so it's always good to hear from other people! :)