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I’ve been a member of Crime Writers of Canada for the past 12 years, and a member of Sisters in Crime (International and the Toronto chapter) for as long as I can remember. So I thought I had it covered, in terms of professional writers’ memberships—in spite of hints from my friend Anne Logan, a long-time member of The Writers’ Union of Canada.

The last time I saw Anne, she passed on three recent issues of Write, the Writers’ Union’s quarterly magazine on the craft and business of writing in Canada. On holiday this summer, I took a good look at these magazines. I was impressed. I realized how important The Writers’ Union of Canada is to Canadian writers.

It retains a lawyer to provide advice in members’ contract negotiations. Its grievance committee helps resolve problems with publishers. It runs a manuscript-evaluation agency. It gives advice on tax matters. It acts as a clearing house for information. It organizes around particular issues, such as book dumping, the practice of importing remaindered copies of books by Canadians from abroad, which are sold at reduced prices while the Canadian editions are still in stores at full price. TWUC committees work on copyright protection, and censorship and repression issues. They liaise with publishers and librarians. TWUC also provides paid opportunities for members to deliver presentations and hold workshops.

And as author Margaret Atwood notes in The Canadian Encyclopedia, “one of the most important achievements of the union is to have fostered a spirit of professionalism and self-respect among writers. This organization, founded by writers for writers [in 1973], has enabled them to meet and know one another and to take collective responsibility for decisions that affect the ways in which they are seen and treated.”

I realized I needed to be a member of this organization. Why had I waited so long to join?

I applied for membership last week. And I was thrilled when my application was accepted three days later.

I’m now a proud member of TWUC!

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Updated: Jun 5

My early June writerly weekend began with a fabulous reading by Anthony Bidulka from his newly released murder mystery, Livingsky, at Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop on Church Street. Tony was in town promoting his new book at Glad Day's Queer Noir at the Bar event. I was fortunate to get a copy of the novel before the store ran out. Author of the long-running Russell Quant series, Tony is a hot ticket these days after winning Crime Writers of Canada's Best Novel Award last month for Going to Beautiful. He writes traditional mysteries in untraditional ways, featuring under-represented settings (such as his home province, Saskatchewan) and characters.

Ed and Rosemary with Tony Bidulka (foreground) at Glad Day Bookshop.

Spent a lovely Sunday selling my books and reading from my work-in-progress at the MOTIVE Crime & Mystery Festival at Harbourfront Centre. I also managed to catch a talk by prolific British novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz on ghostwriting three James Bond novels. A number of other writers, including Jeffery Deaver and Kingsley Amis, have been assigned by Ian Fleming's estate to pen 007 novels since the author's 1964 passing, but Horowitz is the first to be given Fleming's unpublished material to work with. Not surprisingly, Horowitz is a big Bond fan. "Having original, unpublished material was been an inspiration. How could I refuse?"

At Crime Writers of Canada's book tent at MOTIVE.

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This coming Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28, Word on the Street returns to Toronto. Author Caro Soles will be hosting her fellow Mesdames of Mayhem at her table. You can find us at Queen's Park Crescent, Booth 22A, not far from the Queen's Park subway station.

I'll be there on Sunday May 28 only--from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The schedule for the other participating Mesdames and Monsieur is listed on the poster above.

There will be outdoor authors' and publishers' book sale tables, and readings on stage. Check out the entire program at the WOTS website.

See you there!

The way we were: Our table in 2022, Rosemary on the left, Blair Keetch in the middle, Caro Soles on the right.

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