Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Published: My essay on The Tower of Babble, by Richard Stursberg, in CNQ 86

I was very pleased to come home last night to find the latest issue of Canadian Notes & Queries (CNQ) waiting for me in my mailbox. This issue contains a lengthy essay I wrote reviewing Richard Stursberg's memoir The Tower Of Babble: Sins, Secrets and Successes inside the CBC. While my essay is a thorough critique of Stursburg's text, it is also a cri de coeur for public broadcasting in general, a subject I am (usually quietly) passionate about.

For those of you who don't know, Stursberg was the head of English programming at CBC from 2004 to 2010 and ushered in the network's current era of populism. His memoir recounts his tumultuous years at the Ceeb and his struggle to turn our public broadcaster--which has a long, proud history and has contributed immeasurably to our sense of what it means to be Canadian--into a more business-friendly, ratings-oriented organization. I had read an article about this book in the Globe & Mail last spring and knew I wanted to write an expansive, wide-reaching examination of the Stursberg regime at CBC. Thankfully, CNQ's editor was more than happy to accommodate me.

No surprise, issue #86 also comes packed with lots of other great stuff. This issue's theme appears to be 'libraries' (another public institution worth writing about), with feature articles by Nicole Dixon, Nigel Beale, and Jeet Heer, among others. There's also some fiction by Caroline Adderson, poetry by Evan Jones, and lots of other great stuff I'm looking forward to tucking into. So visit your better literary newsstands (or library!) to check it out.

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