Monday, 1 October 2012

Some Serious Monday Thoughts

Good evening, you beautiful bookish people you. We've received a lot of comments and feedback regarding our little campaign in the last few days, and we just wanted to say a few more words about the project now, to give you an idea of where our hearts and minds are at with Bare It For Books.

First of all, if you haven't already, you should hop on over here to read Allegra's words on BIFB, as well as some of her exciting hints at what's to come in 2013. They really are exciting, these hints. Promise.

And second of all, there is this.

"A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down." 

Wise words, these, from the Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Funny, yes, but ever so true. In order to connect with their readers, authors are constantly baring themselves--mentally, spiritually, emotionally--with every word that they put out there in the world. Consider the novel Annabel, by Kathleen Winter, which lies open the struggle of gender, the struggle of parenthood. Consider this article from Stacey May Fowles. Consider the hard truths of Linden MacIntyre's The Bishop's Man. In order to create pieces like this, authors have to open themselves to the public in all manner of ways. It happens all the time. 

In that sense, and in what we hope will be a fun, entirely playful, tongue-in-cheek kind of way, Bare It For Books is operating as a kind of physical extension of the psychological nakedness that writers experience every day.

But PEN Canada, and everything that they stand for, also has an important part to play in this little campaign. The ability to create and produce and celebrate a sexy little calendar isn't necessarily something that every country out there would freely get to do. As the members of PEN know all too well, there are scores of places in the world where "risky" books and "risky" projects like this wouldn't even get off the ground. How many writers are imprisoned around the world just for trying to say important, uncomfortable things?

This also happens all the time. Unfortunately.

So in this sense, the aim of Bare It For Books is twofold. We want it to be celebratory, yes. We want to be fun, and cheeky, and use our lovely little calendar as a way of encouraging and fostering the love of literature that's already so strong in this country. We want to pay homage to the difficult work that our writers and our artists undertake.

But we also want our readers and everyone who comes into contact with this project to remember how important it is that we continue to campaign for free speech in all corners of the world. For the ability to concoct fun little projects and act on them without fear of persecution. Once again, we're asking our authors to bare themselves in order to tell an important story.

We're so thrilled that the project has gotten a great response thus far. We can't wait to watch it all unfold in the coming months. We can't wait to share it all with you.

More soon. In the meantime, as always, lots of literary love to you all.

Amanda & Allegra

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