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Diverse CanLit: A Lit Wish From Léonicka Valcius

For the second year in row, we’ve been spending the holiday season making Lit Wish Lists—lists of books we want to give, books we want to get, books to read or reread. And all this thinking about Lit Wish Lists got us pondering the nature of the Lit Wish; what exactly might one of these look like? So we went exploring to find out, and came up with three excellent Lit Wishes worthy of coming true in 2014. This one is by Léonicka Valcius, the force behind "Diverse CanLit"

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I only discovered CanLit two years ago. Though I was born in Montreal, I grew up in the US. The only exposure I had to Canadian literature was reading The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (still one of my favourites) for my WorldLit course in high school and stumbling on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale at the library. When I joined the publishing industry, I felt woefully behind and did my best to play catch up.

My foray into the Canadian literary canon fizzled out quickly. The popular conception of CanLit was overwhelmingly white. Although the books were beautifully written, I couldn’t shake the feeling that they weren’t written for people like me—they certainly weren’t written by people like me.

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