Feb 5, 2009
Today is Family Literacy Day! Literacy is defined as “the ability to understand and employ printed information in daily activities at home, at work and in the community - to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” Four out of 10 adult Canadians, age 16 to 65 - representing 9 million Canadians - struggle with low literacy according to Statistics Canada. This means they are denied the pleasures and benefits of, among other things, reading literature. Literature, as John Carey puts it in the final chapter of his book What Good are the Arts?, enlarges your mind, and it gives you thoughts, words and rhthms that will last you for life.
With this in mind, I talked to Margaret Eaton, President of the ABC Canada Literacy Foundation about what is being done to help those who live with illiteracy to overcome this obstacle. In so doing we discuss the impact of the Internet on reading habits and the income of freelance writers, the future of the book, blogging, publishers’ business models, and bringing the U.K.’s successful Quick Reads program,which commissions authors (including Ruth Rendall, Joanna Trollope and Richard Branson), to write exciting, short, fast-paced books specifically for adult emergent readers, to Canada. Margaret is now looking for well know Canadian authors to write true crime, and how-to titles, both of which were very popular in England. I immediately suggest William Deverell, and a can’t miss how-to topic: Seven Steps to Phenomenal Sex.