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Government changes its mind on book funding

Funding reinstated for distributor of gay and lesbian titles

With funding secured, Anthony Bidulka can now release a new title with Insomniac Press.
Just days after announcing that funding to Canadian small-press marketers Literary Press Group had been cancelled, the Harper government has reversed its decision, enabling the non-profit group to hire back its sales team. Coming two months into the fiscal year, the move would have been devastating to the company and the publishers of Canadian gay and lesbian authors it represents.

In an email from the Department of Canadian Heritage’s media relations service, Len Westerberg says, “The decision was reviewed. Funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage will be provided to the Literary Press Group for its sales and marketing project.”

“We’ve received written confirmation,” confirms a relieved Jack Illingworth, executive director of LPG. “Staff have been reinstated and publishers’ fall season is secure. Looking ahead we will have to assess any damage to sales force clients’ confidence in the organization and our staff’s levels of comfort in working with us. I think we responded very well under pressure and in our publishers’ and authors’ best interests.”

Gay mystery writer Anthony Bidulka was working on a deal with his publisher, Insomniac Press, to continue his Russell Quant series and introduce a new series, but the Harper funding cut immediately put those plans on hold, as he told a roomful of fans at Glad Day Bookshop June 11. Now, he happily reports, “Quant will continue to live, and we are now set to release the new Saint book in spring 2013.”

Arts funding in Canada is never a sure thing, but Illingworth says LPG will carry on promoting Canadian talent: “Our job now is to not fall into complacency or become too paranoid. Right now we’re just taking deep breaths and looking ahead.”