Why Writers Matter

In conjunction with the inaugural Canadan Writers' Summit taking place June 15 – 19, 2016 at Harbourfront in Toronto, The Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC) is launching its #WhyWritersMatter campaign.

Canadian writers play an essential and pivotal role in every aspect of our lives. The #WhyWritersMatter campaign is designed to remind us of the value and importance of writers, and the role they play in our lives. TWUC is asking all Canadians why they think writers matter in today's world.

Join the conversation: Use the hashtag #WhyWritersMatter on Twitter and Facebook, or email us your reasons here.

The Union is honoured by the responses it has received to date:

Writers enhance our understanding of one another, fostering a sense of connectedness that nurtures a compassionate society. Our government is proud to support writers across Ontario, and to recognize their contributions to our cultural vitality.

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

Writers matter because they preserve and strengthen culture and stories.

Waubgeshig Rice, Author and Journalist

Writers matter because we weave the narrative threads that connect us with each other and with shared place.

Heather Menzies, Chair, The Writers’ Union of Canada

Through fact or fiction, on the page or on the stage, writers give voice to those who might otherwise be silent.

Elyne Quan, Playwright

Writers matter because stories matter, perhaps that's all that matters, and writers create stories. They expand our small lives and amplify our experience. They challenge the head, build the spirit, and charge the heart. 

Shelagh Rogers, CBC Host, The Next Chapter

I couldn’t survive a single day without a book.

Gerald Caplan, Journalist and Academic

Writers set off sparks in our minds and hearts, start wheels of empathy turning, shine rays of perspective. Writers leave readers transformed.

Gillian Deacon, CBC Host, Here and Now

Writers matter because they make things up which are true.

The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson

Now, more than ever, in such a rapidly changing world, writers matter, holding a mirror up to our deepest selves and shining a light on our way forward.

Nino Ricci, Author

Writers matter because they provide enduring — and meaningful — insight, context and diversion.

Hilary McMahon, Westwood Creative Artists Literary Agency

Writers discern for us. They tell us where we've been, where we are now, and where we're going.

Pamela Mordecai, Author

To understand, explore, lament, and glory in all that makes us human, we turn to stories, to writers.

Randy Boyagoda, President, PEN Canada

Writers transport you into other worlds from the inside out, whispering into your ear.

Eleanor Wachtel, CBC Host, Writers & Company

Writers are the nearest we've got so far to inventing telepathy and time travel.

Emma Donoghue, Author and Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Room

Writers challenge the way things are by unravelling the stories of people and places that would otherwise remain unknown and strange to us.

Jael Richardson, Author and Artistic Director, The Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD)

Every poem is its own pyre, flamboyant, / The smoking words laying waste to Time.

 George Elliott Clarke, 7th Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Writers teach us, guide us, and inspire us. They create paths into imaginative worlds where we can escape, and lead us on insightful journeys where we can find ourselves. Writers matter.

Josh Matlow, Toronto City Councillor

They reflect our familiar world back to us and make us fall in love with it. They open up a stranger’s suitcase and let us go through their notebooks and underwear. They teach us to feel more and know more and live more. They give us the analytic ability to deconstruct accepted lies and speak our own authentic truths.

Heather O'Neill, Author

Some writers create expansive worlds, some bring critical but hidden information to light, others pose bold questions and force societies to look themselves in the mirror. The written word is powerful, and the author a crucial pillar in any democratic society. That's why writers matter.

Tom Henheffer, Executive Director of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

The best writing holds us close and gives us courage. By changing a reader, it can change the world. In these times, when we are saturated with opinion rather than thought, and distraction rather than solace, the best writing is as essential as ever. 

— Anne Michaels, Toronto Poet Laureate

Whether the quickest of glimpses or deeply immersive, writers take us to new worlds and help us think new things.

Peter Caldwell, Director and CEO, Ontario Arts Council

Writers open our eyes to worlds we’re unfamiliar with. Good writers hold up a mirror to us, showing us who we are while challenging us to imagine ourselves and others anew.

Shani Mootoo, Author

The wonderful poet PK Page once said to me: "If the planet is a plant, perhaps you are a nodule of growth." Writers are nodules of growth: inscribing our cultural memory, making the present visible amidst all the noisy distractions, mapping the future. They are necessary to our spiritual wellbeing.

— Rosemary Sullivan, Author

To write is to explain that we are all connected to each other.

— Clayton Ruby, Lawyer

Words empower change. In the 2016 struggle to defeat hatred and despair, to envisage a collective future, stories that share our complicated identities and diversities are both weapons and peace seekers.

Dorothy Ellen Palmer, Author

Writers are the stewards of a country's memory.

Guy Vanderhaege, Author

Writers matter as ideas matter, as books matter, and as libraries matter, casting light to null the void of ignorance and apathy.

— Peter Schneider, Manager, Public Lending Right Program

Writers' work is crucial in promoting dialogue and cohesion by narrating the human features of our collective existence which includes breaking down "the otherness" into different sets of experiences or perspectives.

Eden Eyasu, Author and Journalist


Follow TWUC on Twitter to see even more reasons #WhyWritersMatter.