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National hopes

How our publishing industry reflects what it means to be Canadian right now – and where we may be heading

LAST YEAR, around this time – like so many Canadian publishers and organizations – Quill & Quire’s staff sat around a table discussing options for our sesquicentennial coverage. Should we dedicate an issue to Canada’s 150th? Commit to monthly coverage? Organize an event? Create a list of the top 150 CanLit books of all time?

As July 1 approaches, it is becoming more apparent that even the concept of Canada 150 is fraught with problems. In light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the idea of celebrating 1867, Canadian Confederation, and colonialism feels miscalculated. On the other hand, outside of the pomp and fireworks, the anniversary is also drawing attention to longstanding issues, and leading to some bloody smart art and writing. Cree visual artist Kent Monkman used Canada’s sesquicentennial as a launching point for his powerful exhibition, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, while it also served as the inspiration for Michif artist Christi Belcourt’s #Resist150 project.

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Debbie Ridpath Ohi: A big heart comes live on the page; Books for young people Fall preview; 100 of the top kids' books arriving on shelves this season.