Today’s post is mostly about Canada, and books, but the concept should appeal to everyone who reads, and there’s a giveaway at the end. I’m the ‘face’ of Project Bookmark for April 9th.
Canadians are often accused, and often accurately, of not flashing any measure of pride – or even awareness – concerning our own history. Quick, name three Fathers of Confederation. For American or other contestants, let’s try: quick, name a Canadian not named Justin Bieber. (Yes, Virginia, he’s Canadian.)
It can be argued that muting a sense of national identity means not getting caught up in the craziness that can go with that. But it is also true that it can leave a people feeling rootless, unconnected, lacking a history, lacking stories. And people who have read me know I see a lot of value in historical awareness and storytelling.
Project Bookmark is a national campaign to place plaques with words – from books and stories and poems – on buildings and at sites where those very scenes and images are set. They don’t honour military or political leaders from here or anywhere else. They recognize the writers and the narratives and the places. They tell anyone walking by that here, right here, something happened in a creative work. That this exact place plays a role in a work of art.
Have a look at their website. Tell me you don’t think this is cool:
This month, Project Bookmark has asked a number of writers to help them raise their profile, generate national (and international) awareness of an exercise in honouring storytellers and their stories and places and history. How, seriously, would I have declined to participate? There’s a movement afoot, they tell me, to place one of the plaques on Philosopher’s Walk at University of Toronto, to recognize the scene in The Summer Tree that takes place there.
Each writer has a designated day. I’m today, April 9, and anyone coming along with me in donating $20 to Project Bookmark today – and thus becoming a ‘Page Turner’ for them – will be entered into a draw to receive a signed copy of River of Stars. That’s a bonus, though I’m extremely happy to offer it. The cause is the reward.