Members of Periodical Marketers of Canada approved a $40,000 grant that will make it possible for a Syrian refugee writer and family to find a new life in Canada.
The grant, from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters (FACL), will go to a committee of writers based in Kingston that is organizing the project. Through FACL, PMC has a forty-year history of supporting literacy and promoting Canadian writing through awards to magazine writers and authors. FACL currently sponsors a $5,000 annual Aboriginal Literature Award for the best book published by an indigenous author.
The Kingston Writers’ Refugee Committee has been registered as a Community Sponsor affiliated with the United Church of Canada. The affiliation empowers the Committee to sponsor a refugee family and support them in their first year in Canada.
Ray Argyle, former executive director of PMC and chair of the writers’ committee, said the group is working with the writing organization Pen Canada and the International Cities of Refugee Network (ICORN) to arrange sponsorship of the writer and family.
“We are in discussions to identify and bring to Canada a Syrian writer who has been forced for their safety to take refuge in a neighbouring country,” Argyle said.
Additional fund-raising has begun to ensure a year’s support to the writer’s family.
“Bringing a Syrian writer to Canada will free a voice to continue to speak out for democratic free expression,” Argyle added. “Their arrival will also enrich the thread of immigrant writing that has contributed so strongly to Canadian literature in recent years.”
Ray Argyle (613) 583-7547