Last week, gritLIT recognized and apologized for our wrongful planning and promotion of “Is CanLit a Raging Dumpster Fire?”, an event we programmed that ignorantly made reference to an article of the same name by Alicia Elliott. This event was disrespectful, and for that I am deeply sorry. We commit to doing better.

Our community has rightfully asked: What does this commitment look like? After making a public apology to Alicia Elliott, as well as to Nick Mount, Elaine Dewar and Dana Hansen who were also misrepresented in the description, gritLIT took a moment to let the conversation continue and voices be heard, both on and off social media. Here are two of the outcomes we would like to share.

  • We made personal apologies to all the parties involved, including a phone call to Alicia Elliott, and to all our writers taking part in the festival.
  • We decided to fill the event-space with the conversation that the original description should have encompassed: a discussion about Canadian literature that centers the voices of our BIPOC authors in a space that is inclusive and accessible. It will also be a discussion where authors are compensated for their labour because, as authors on this panel and others have expressed, these conversations are labour. We need to recognize that as a community.

Alicia Elliott has graciously accepted our invitation to take part in this discussion as a gritLIT author, and she will be joined by Jael Richardson from the FOLD Festival and fellow gritLIT author Carrianne Leung. After a discussion with the authors, this event has been titled “CanLit REALLY Is A Dumpster Fire.” We encourage our community to learn more about the event here.

We cannot undo the mistakes we made or the hurt we have caused. I truly hope that by opening the gritLIT space to have these conversations in a real way, we can at least relieve some of that pain and provide a positive path forward.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Gillies

Artistic Director

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