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Literary Citizenship, a guest lecture, and horror movie lockers

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For the second year in a row I had the great pleasure of heading to Prof. Robert McGill’s Literary Citizenship class and create love letters with them. We talked about the how and the why (and the ongoing financial how!) of this project that never ceases to delight and inspire me. It was such a wonderful afternoon and such an honour to meet these engaged, intelligent students who wrote such genuine, heartfelt letters…

I wrote a not-quite-as-eloquent letter to the horror movie lockers in the basement of the building we were in. I remember these lockers from taking a grad class a million years ago with a wonderful, kind professor… (They’re creepy, but awesome, right?!)

P.S.: How amazing is does this course sound? Makes me (almost!) want to go back to school!

Literary citizenship involves participation in building and sustaining cultural communities through things from podcasts and micro-presses to reading series and book clubs. Examining Toronto-based activities, some with a local focus and others with a national or transnational emphasis, we’ll investigate how and why they developed, whom they serve, and what functions they perform.

We’ll consider the economics and demographics of contemporary publishing, the effects of new media on book culture, the use of literature in fostering literacy and social justice, and the relationship between literary citizenship and the state. We’ll also practise literary citizenship ourselves through blog posts and book reviews,while students will conduct independent research into literary-citizenship initiatives. The course will cultivate expertise regarding a wide range of possibilities for literary citizenship while attending to broader issues such as the valuing of literature, labour, and community in the twenty-first century.

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