On December 4, Douglas Hunter published an opinion piece in The Globe and Mail suggesting that the annual CBC literary smackdown known as Canada Reads is biased against non-fiction:
I think it’s super that Canadian novelists and short-story writers are getting another annual boost from the Mother Corp. I just find it discouraging that we seem to think serious, memorable reading only involves fiction. Canada Reads has not once in nine years included a non-fiction title. Were a celebrity participant to defend Ken McGoogan’s Lady Franklin’s Revenge or Ken Dryden’s The Game, I’d keel over in a dead faint.
The CBC is not alone in its bias. Non-fiction remains a second-class literary citizen in the Great White North.
Whether this ingrained national bias actually exists is open to debate (Quillblog would like to point out that non-fiction consistently outsells fiction in this country); the same is apparently not true south of the 49th parallel. WWDMedia today reports that The New Yorker has decided to pull the plug on its second fiction issue of the year (the first one appeared in the early summer) and instead publish a “world changers” issue, which hits stands this week.
I think one is enough for the time being, said editor David Remnick of dropping a fiction issue. We’ll still continue to publish fiction every week. I think we’re one of the last magazines that does.
And apparently the decision to replace the fiction issue sits well with advertisers:
Ad pages rose more than 50 percent for the issue, making it the biggest of the year. Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton are among the fashion advertisers and the automotive category has seven more pages than last year, thanks to BMW, Acura, Ford, Cadillac, and Toyota. Total ad pages for world changers is almost 69, compared with 45 for last year’s winter fiction issue.