A few P.E.I. authors are giving Culture Minister Rob Henderson copies of their books to remind him of the importance of supporting publishing in the province.
Henderson cut its book publishing in the spring, which was costing it $10,000 a year. The province also cut the subsidy two years ago, but bowed to pressure to reinstate it.
Steven Mayoff, a former P.E.I. Book Award winner, sent a copy of a new Island fiction anthology, Riptides, which includes one of his stories, to Henderson. It included this inscription.
"If you are going to make a wrong-headed decision, at least make it an informed wrong-headed decision."
Mayoff had tried to contact the minister by email with no response, and he tried inviting him to the launch of Riptides. "Personally I was feeling quite frustrated that we weren't being listened to, that the writing community on P.E.I. was being ignored," he said.
Sending the book was just another attempt to get Henderson's attention. Mayoff wasn't trying to start a campaign, but other Island authors — including Patti Larson, Dianne Morrow and Elaine Hammond — have picked up on the idea and are now sending their books to the minister.
The list of people who want to talk to Henderson is also growing. Peggy Walt, executive director of the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association, was part of the lobby that brought the subsidy back two years ago.
"We've been through this already once, and we thought that the minister and the department really understood the importance of keeping the publishing program going," said Walt.
Robbie Henderson declined a request to be interviewed by CBC News. A spokesperson for the department said the minister had nothing to add beyond a brief email statement issued last month that said the province is concentrating on programs with broad appeal, particularly in the non-profit sector.
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