WRESTLING WITH THE GIFT
In his book, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property (1983), Lewis Hyde observes that art belongs properly to the Gift Economy, rather than the Market Economy. It is publishing that belongs to the Market Economy, not writing.
In this workshop, I will talk about this and my experience as a writer in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At that time our literature was being dramatically transformed, at least in part by the appearance of small avante garde and/or nationalist presses.
Swept up by a collective enthusiasm, many of us volunteered as editors, photographers, or designers in those largely Quixotic companies. Few of us expected to make money from our writing, but that wasn’t the point; we were writing and being published.
The implications of working in a Gift Economy are intriguing. Where does the gift come from, how do we recognize it, and what responsibility do we have towards it?
A long time conservationist, Graeme Gibson is Joint Honorary President, with Margaret Atwood, of BirdLife International’s Rare Bird Club. He is also Chairman of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, and has been a council member of World Wildlife Fund Canada. He is a member of the Order of Canada, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
He was the initial organizer and founding member and Chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada. He was also an organizer and founding member of the Writers’ Trust, a non-profit organization. From 1987 to 1989 he was president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN. He was born in London, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto.
FIVE LEGS (a novel 1969)
COMMUNION (a novel 1971)
ELEVEN CANADIAN NOVELISTS (interviews 1973)
PERPETUAL MOTION (a novel, 1983)
GENTLEMAN DEATH (a novel, 1993)
THE BEDSIDE BOOK OF BIRDS: An Avian Miscellany 2005
THE BEDSIDE BOOK OF BEASTS: A Wildlife Miscellany 2009
“The most sophisticated writing ever done in Canada.” Saturday Night Magazine
“Perpetual Motion is an important, powerful, moving novel; it is also wonderfully funny…. Gibson writes in a wholly original idiom, in a unique and engaging rhythm. His fiction is always significant, intelligent, haunting.“ — Annie Dillard
1979: recipient of the Scottish/Canadian writer’s exchange.
1990: Toronto Arts Award for Writing.
1991: inaugural recipient of the Writers’ Union’s G.G. Award.
1992: appointed Member of The Order of Canada.
1993: Harbourfront Festival Prize
2008: The Writers’ Trust Award For Distinguished Contribution