the pomegranate, Canadian women write nonfiction

the pomegranate

This digital site is intended for writers, readers, critics and scholars.

It was conceived and developed by Janice Williamson who is editor of the pomegranate along with many contributors whose work is featured on the site in posts and comments.

This site includes an “Index” of 175 Canadian women nonfiction writers with links to individual websites. The list is “in process.” (My gratitude to Aldora Cole who assisted with the first version of this list.)

the pomegranate blog explores and features Canadian women’s nonfiction writing. Some of the writing was developed specifically for the pomegranate. Other work is linked to other sites but the goal is create an ongoing archive of some of the best and most intriguing writing by women who live in Canada or Canadian women who live elsewhere.

In the academy, nonfiction writing has been an unsung genre in literary studies. Nonfiction writing has the arms of an octopus reaching across disciplines and subjects. Thus this attempt to link up the writers in a living archive such as this. The increasing popularity of literary nonfiction and “creative nonfiction” has expanded the reach of the nonfiction writer and this seems a perfect time to provide a space for this community of writers, readers, critics and scholars.

A number of excellent women writers have volunteered to be “contributors” to the pomegranate, submitting work themselves and alerting pomegranate to other women’s writing.

the pomegranate features resources for writers (prizes, nonfiction writing competitions, and eventually an extended catalogue of relevant magazines and journals.)

It will also include interviews with writers, reviews, and other information about nonfiction writing.

The blog posts by various women writers are catalogued and tagged on a wide range of subjects: nonfiction writing, creative nonfiction, poverty, militarism, food, education, equity, child care, mothering, etc.

My dream is that there might be an annual publication of original work derived from the pomegranate calls for submissions. The annual pomegranate publication might be a digital book or hold-in-the-hand magazine.

the pomegranate is a work in process and I would appreciate suggestions from others about technical, conceptual or content issues. Any updates, corrections or additions to the “Index of Canadian Women Nonfiction Women Writers” are appreciated.

the pomegranate intends “to scruple” Canadian women’s nonfiction writing and what matters. This is a short introduction to the inspiration for this project from post in the pomegranate about the verb to scruple

In a CBC-Radio interview on The Current, the distinguished Canadian peace activist and scientist Ursula Franklin introduced me to the Quaker tradition of “scrupling.” In response to my interest, Ursula Franklin emailed me in November 2010: “delighted that you understand my reasoning to revive the old notion of “scrupling” as an activity and the use of scrupling as a verb. Today we google. High time – I say- to scruple also.”

“To scruple” means “to hesitate as a result of conscience or principle.” This hesitation, a pause to reflect, is a move that invites a critical distance, a useful antidote to the status quo. The etymological root of “scruple” is –

from O.Fr. scrupule (14c.), from L. scrupulus “uneasiness, anxiety, pricking of conscience,” lit. “small sharp stone,” dim. of scrupus “sharp stone or pebble,” used figuratively by Cicero for a cause of uneasiness or anxiety, probably from the notion of having a pebble in one’s shoe. The verb meaning “to have or make scruples” is attested from 1620s.

Canadian women nonfiction writers need a “small sharp stone” to prick at the conscience of editors, publishers, literary prize jurors and reviewers. To think about the context in which Canadian women’s nonfiction is produced, is to suddenly feel a pebble in one’s shoe, an irritation that irks.

We also need to prick at the psyches of those who minimize the value of writing, education, the arts, and critical thinking. Our ability to communicate ideas and insight to others makes us natural candidates for engagement in public discussion and debate. We need spaces to share information, to publish reviews and observations about writing and life, to invite writers to investigate the politics and poetics of our cultural life and our everyday.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to locate a digital meeting place of writers and readers, an archive of work, a space for reviews and reflections. What would it look like? What would it do? How might it help us innovate in our own writing, share the insights of others, provide us with information about how to break down and through institutional barriers? How might it influence and inform? How might a collective writing space explore and undo limiting attitudes, even those that remain unspoken? How might it contribute to equity in publishing? How might we make common cause to ensure that sexism, ethnocentrism, and racism don’t remain the unarticulated status quo of the way things tend to work in our world?…