Stephen Gill with Bernadette Clement, the Mayor of Cornwall: A Notable Meeting


  It was a notable afternoon to have some time with the Mayor of Cornwall on September 30th in her office at City Hall. Our talk ranged from former mayors and national politics to Canadian literature as well as my contributions to local literary scene, and the outstanding contributions of Standard-Freeholder to the city in the past. I mentioned my latest correspondence with Professor Dr. Anupam Shukla, Head of the Department of English of a college in India. Professor Shukla mentions they have Commonwealth, Afro-American, IWE authors who are better than Canadians.  I added during my conversation with the Mayor that diaspora literature of Canada is more gripping than is the literature of the main stream Canadians.  

 I admire Mayor Bernadette Clement for her true humility, her understanding of the North American letters, and above all her zeal and sincerity. A competent lawyer Bernadette always look for opportunities to serve her constituents.  She has been a councillor of Cornwall City since 2006. She won the prestigious position of the mayor with a landslide victory that opened a new chapter in the history of Canada.

Our talk culminated with my presentation of Professor Dr. ID Tiwari’s anthology Stephen Gill in the West, Professor Dr. Sudhir Arora’s critical study The Poetic Corpus of Stephen Gill, and my ll’s own book My Two Novels of Ideas, a set of two novels The Coexistence and The Chhattisgarh. 

Set in Canada, the Coexistence is a blueprint to live and let live. My second novel The Chhattisgarh is about the exotic nature of the mythologies around the jungles of Chhattisgarh, a province of India. It is also philosophical and is based on my ideology of live and let live.

While going home I reflected on my comments concerning Canadian Literature that lacks the fire I see in the pen of the black authors of the bordering nation of the USA. National Government’s investment in Pierre Trudeau era certainly gave an identity to Canadian Literature.  I feel that the Canada Council’s reading programme that was meant for North America was a boon. Instead of including the commonwealth nations, the Steve Harper’s Government scrapped it, damaging badly the newly opened bud. Now is the time to revive that reading program and also to revive the position of a liaison literary officer and also to promote literary exchanges among commonwealth nations.

Moreover, there should be more poet and writer in residence positions available. Just a Nobel Laureate and a coterie of close friends of politicians will not enrich Canadian letters. I have seen small cities in the USA, and Britain active and vibrant. Cities like Cornwall should not leave cultural matters entirely for the provincial and national governments to handle.

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