A few days ago I had a little rant about the revised deadlines for literature grants. This morning in my email box I found a message from Jack Illingworth, literature officer for the Ontario Arts Council. He briefly addressed the concerns I’d voiced, and pointed me to the comment he’d left on my blog for my approval.
I am reassured in more ways than one. First, the budget for literature hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is the number of available opportunities for entry, and that has changed for everyone.
Second, the changes reflect the numbers, which I rather suspected for the northern deadline anyway. If you read the comment on my post, you’ll see the proportions and numbers of entries that have driven the changes.
Third, it’s not going to be one jury dealing with poetry, young adult, non-fiction and so on – it will be separate juries, including a separate jury for Northern Ontario writers. In that respect, I think the granting process will be improved. When I served on a jury I had several graphic-novel entries to look at, and I didn’t feel I really knew enough about the genre to make a truly educated judgement.
So I extract my foot from my mouth herewith, very glad I didn’t say anything either truly nasty or actionable. Yes, I flew off the handle a bit. I’ll admit that when I first looked at the entry in the brochure, I was upset almost to tears by the way the situation looked to me. Passion won out over scholarship, which is sometimes a good thing, but clearly not always conducive to accuracy. Mea culpa. Kind of a trademark mea culpa, as those of you who know me can confirm.
What really, really reassures me is that the OAC is listening. The communications team flagged my blog post and brought it to Mr Illingworth’s attention. He responded promptly, with tact and a good deal more kindness than he might have used, for which I am deeply grateful.
I’m very glad that the situation is so much better than the necessarily brief writeup in the brochure led me to believe. We have lost a couple of application opportunities, but the money is still there, and hence the support. As I said in the original post, I still don’t know how it will play out. But after hearing from Mr Illingworth, I am very much more optimistic.