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Random House of Canada to publish “e-book original” honouring Jack Layton

The death of former New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton caught many Canadians off guard and provoked a wave of goodwill across the country. Random House of Canada announced today it’s planning to memorialize Layton’s passing with an “e-book original” that will collect “short, personal essays from a diverse line-up of contributors.”

Hope Is Better Than Fear: Playing Paying Jack Forward, due out at the end of September, will pay tribute to the man and the issues he championed throughout his career. Contributors already lined up for the project include Rex Murphy, Thomas King, David Miller, Steven Page, playwright Brad Fraser, and newly elected NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault.

From the press release:

The idea of the project is to ask people who are active in areas Jack was passionate about to help inspire us to keep pushing forward, says Anne Collins, vice-president of Random House of Canada. The challenge that we have set for the writers, thinkers and activists we’ve approached is to tap into Jack’s energy, optimism and drive, to reflect on where Jack made an impact and then set us all a challenge as to where we need to go next. In essence, if we were lucky enough to have Jack still with us, what would he be kicking our butts to do?

The “instant” e-book is the first of its kind for the Canadian branch of Random House, the U.S. arm of which published another e-book original, Beyond Bin Laden, mere days after the capture and death of the al-Qaeda leader.

Proceeds from the sale of Hope Is Better Than Fear will go to aboriginal youth initiatives, as requested by Layton’s widow Olivia Chow.