Nostalgia is a tricky thing because it tends to make the past look better than it was, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve seen a movement in literature as exciting and inspiring as that particular time period since. After years of being told by academic institutions what literature was and what it was supposed to do, Zoe Whittall’s story blew that apart. The stories and poems I went on to discover hit me with a lightning bolt of possibility. Now, with the benefit of more than a decade of distance, I’m sure what she was part of, what she helped start, was the kind of vibrant, supportive culture that paves the way for a variety of new voices to take root.
These writers didn’t see a place for themselves in the status quo, and consciously or not, they made their own world and welcomed others into it. Not only that, but the candor in which they spoke and wrote about the intricacies of their life experiences actually brought a great deal of solace to the readers that came to love their work. Many of them, in turn, have deservedly become a dominant and welcome force in contemporary Canadian literature.
Read the full essay at All Lit Up.