Happy Authors Day! If you’ve never heard of it, I don’t blame you. Until I researched it, I hadn’t heard of it either.
It’s one day after Halloween. For many people, it’s the start of Movember. But it’s also Authors Day, at least in the United States. As far as I could tell by doing a quick Internet search, Canada has no such day.
Whether Canada proclaims a National Authors Day celebrating Canadian authors, we should recognize and celebrate Canadian authors as much as we can.
According to a free online encyclopedia, avid reader Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Illinois Women’s Club, first established the day in 1928. The teacher was recovering in a hospital during the First World War. During that time, she wrote a fan letter to Irving Bacheller, a fiction writer, expressing how much she liked his story, Eben Holden’s Last Day A’Fishin.
“Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story, and McPherson realized that she could never adequately thank him for his gift,” the website said. “Instead, she showed her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which passed a resolution.”
That resolution dedicated Nov. 1 as a way to pay tribute to American writers. The U. S. Department of Commerce recognized the day in 1949. McPherson’s granddaughter, Sue Cole, promoted the day after McPherson died in 1968.
The website said: “She has urged people to write a note to their favorite author on this day to ‘brighten up the sometimes lonely business of being a writer.’”
I believe this to be true. Often work goes unappreciated or we only hear negative comments about our work. We can take for granted the wonderful talent we have and fail to say, “Thank you.”
There are a lot of fabulous Canadian authors, such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, author or the classic tale Anne of Green Gables. Other names we might recognize include John McCrae, Margaret Atwood, Kenneth Oppel and Mordecai Richler. Yann Martel is best known for his acclaimed book, Life of Pi,which was recently made into a movie.
Sara Gruen is the author of Water for Elephants, a beloved bestseller. The book was also adapted into a movie.
Robert James Sawyer, a science-fiction writer, is the author of Flash Forward, which was sold to ABC for a drama television show that premiered in 2009.
On Oct. 10 of this year, acclaimed Canadian author Alice Munro, who writes short stories, was the first Canadian to win the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. I have read a few of Munro’s stories. If you have not read any of her work, I would highly recommend it.
Those are only a few on a very, very long list of Canadian authors. And those are only really famous authors. There are others as well who are just as talented, some of which I have met or know personally.
Edward Willet, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing, writes science fiction and fantasy books.
He has written more than 50 books and is from and currently lives in Regina.
I also know Barb Pacholik quite well. Pacholik has written three Saskatchewan crime novels, the first being Sour Milk. She lives in Regina and is a reporter at the Regina Leader-Post.
And still, I’m only scratching the surface. I don’t have enough space to list them all.
My point is, we should appreciate our homegrown, Canadian talent because we have lots of it.
Today might not be author’s day for us Canadians, but I have the greatest respect and admiration for Canadian authors.
To all of the authors out there, whether you’re a published or aspiring writer, I really appreciate all of the work you do and what you contribute to our culture, so thank you very much.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.