High-profile Canadian journalists pledge to raise money for ‘appropriation prize’
Hal Niedzviecki resigned this week as editor of The Writers’ Union of Canada magazine after his opinion piece sparked outrage.
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A contentious article encouraging writers “to imagine other cultures” and to “set your sights on the big goal: Win the Appropriation Prize” is finding support from high-profile Canadian journalists who are raising money to create the controversial award.
Hal Niedzviecki resigned this week as editor of The Writers’ Union of Canada magazine after his opinion piece sparked outrage with a member of the magazine’s editorial board calling it “clueless and thoughtless.”
Late on Thursday night, a conversation on Twitter began when Jonathan Kay, editor-in-chief of The Walrus magazine, called the outrage over Niedzviecki’s article a “mobbing” that was sad and shameful.
In response, former National Post editor-in-chief Ken Whyte tweeted that he would donate $500 to fund the “appropriation prize” mentioned in the opinion piece.
The tweet began a stream of pledges from high profile Canadian journalists to create the prize.
Others were quick to condemn this drive.
Niedzviecki responded Friday with a note on Facebook.
“Calls for an actual ‘appropriation prize’ are extremely unhelpful. They do not represent me in anyway. In the short article I wrote, the satiric notion of the prize was brought up in jest — ie. how can we encourage writers of all backgrounds to explore points of view other than their own? That’s all I meant. I agree that the timing of the article was poor, and I feel terribly that writers whose beautiful and important words were featured in that issue were hurt. As I wrote in the piece, ‘Indigenous writing is the most vital and compelling force in writing and publishing in Canada today.’ ”