Montreal poet Sue Sinclair has been named the Canadian Women in the Literary Arts’ first Resident Critic, a post she will hold for the next year. The Critic-in-Residence, a paid position, has been created to address gender gaps in Canada’s book review culture, as revealed by the CWILA Numbers.
Critic-in-Residence Committee Manager, Laura Moss, says that it was “heartening” to see how many strong applications were received for this inaugural position. Applications came from almost every province in Canada, from those starting out and from those with years of experience. Moss thinks that “the depth of the applicant pile really speaks to the deep desire to change review culture in Canada.
Dozens of writers and critics wanted to jump in and try to make a difference in wonderfully innovative and surprising ways.” Ultimately, Moss says the committee “chose Sue Sinclair because of her commitment to review the work of new writers, works in English and French, and works of a variety of genres, in multiple reviewing platforms.”
Struck by the inspiring wealth of energy and vision of the applicants, Susan Gillis called Sue Sinclair’s plan “both balanced and far-reaching” while Clélie Rich was impressed by her desire to review the work of first-time women poets. Elee Kraljii Gardiner noted how Sue Sinclair brings “her skilled writing to the post” and Helen Guri hopes the residency will inject life into Canadian criticism by calling attention to the art and by bringing new and overlooked voices to the table. “Diversity makes the conversation relevant,” says Guri.
The committee of editors and writers is confident that Sue Sinclair will provide a strong voice for CWILA and for women critics and writers in Canada.
Sinclair herself says, “The establishment of the Critic-in-Residence position is a boon for both Canadian women and Canadian literary culture in general. I will endeavour to uphold the CWILA mandate during my tenure through the review of first collections of poetry published by women and a community-based project in partnership with the Atwater Reading Series at the Atwater Library in Montréal.”