The Literary Arts Committee was convened this past September by the Hamilton Arts Council as part of our renewed mandate to promote critical dialogue in our creative community.
The LAC is the longest running Committee associated with the Hamilton Arts Council and all of the members are published authors or publishers in the Hamilton region who work to advocate on behalf of the literary arts in the city. The meeting on September 26, 2012 was attended by Susan Evans Shaw, George Down, Mary Anderson, Noelle Allen(Wolzak & Wynn), Wilma Seville and Stephen Near (Hamilton Arts Council Liaison).
1) Lit Live 2012-13: The Committee discussed the Lit Live Festival and how it will be funded in the coming year. Susan, who sits on the Lit Live Committee, reported that funding for the Festival looks to be improved over last year and that was good news. She has also booked a consistent schedule of both authors for the readings and MCs to introduce the evenings. The Lit Live Reading Series is a monthly event that takes place on the 1st Sunday evening of every month and is held at Homegrown Hamilton.
2) 19th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards: The Committee discussed, at length, the future format of the Annual Hamilton Literary Awards. This Awards event is coming up in November and will feature a number of awards presented to Hamilton-based writers for their published work. The nominated categories for the Awards are: POETRY – Individual Poem, FICTION – Short Story, NON-FICTION – Short Article, YOUNG ADULT/CHILDRENS – Book, POETRY – Book, NON-FICTION – Book and FICTION – Book. The Committee discussed the merits and challenges of having an city literary awards event with 7 categories as opposed to one or two categories. The Committee ultimately decided to look at alternative formats for the Hamilton Literary Awards that would feature fewer categories but offer more distinction and prestige as well greater prize amounts. This issue will be discussed further in the months ahead by the Committee members.
3) New Committee Membership: Several members of the long-standing LAC are going to be stepping away from the Committee and so the members briefly discussed prospective candidates. Several notable individuals in the Hamilton literary scene were mentioned as possible candidates and some Committee members have volunteered to ask these individuals.
4) Culture Days 2012: The Committee discussed the Culture Days 2012 events in Hamilton with a specific eye on those events that fell into the literary sphere. Although there were over 40+ events taking place in the city, the Committee admitted that the proximity of Culture Days to Supercrawl does seem to present some programming and funding issues for arts groups in Hamilton.
5) Niagara Literary Arts Festival: The Committee briefly discussed the possibility of collaborating with the planners of the Niagara Literary Arts Festival. Bringing the Festival into Hamilton next June might be a possibility and some on the Committee wondered if it might be possible tie such a collaboration with Open Streets Hamilton.