Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

CWILA Interview on Criticism

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts interviewed me on the topic of criticism. Thank you to Gillian Jerome for her thoughtful questions.

You can read the interview here and I look forward to hearing responses to the questions I posed at the end about the history of critique in Canada and whether there’s any correlation in the increase in creative writing programs and the decrease in literary criticism. (if in fact there is a decrease, I personally think there is but could stand corrected).


The diminished amount of literary criticism and the increased emphasis on book as singular act, marketing and hussling outsourced to writer (pimping also recommended, judging by current Canada Reads nonsense)  results in the wondering of whether fiction writers are no longer seeing their work as part of a continuum.  That something came before it and something will follow it and along this continuum the interrelation of other work might be a valid considering and that your book has a life beyond your creation of it. (and the reckoning on whether you did a good job or not)

Reviews are deemed good or bad based on some misconception that their only purpose is to sell books. Reviews are not intended to be the decision maker of whether someone should buy and read the book, (eg NP buy it or skip it daftness) they’re a piece of writing in their own right, in relation to a considering of the book.  A consider of and along, within and out from the book. They are not the bloody hammer at an auction.

I could read criticism that some may consider harsh on a novel I appreciate, it does not detract from my experience of the particular novel, it merely gives me other considerings on that novel, which I welcome. It enriches my experience with the book. I welcome anyone thinking intelligently about literature because in reading people who probe intelligently on literature I also learn to be a better writer.