Jen Sookfong Lee on how the Can't Lit podcast offers a fresh perspective on diversity in literature
Jen Sookfong Lee is a Vancouver-born novelist, broadcast personality, a past CBC Short Story Prize juror, Canada Reads panellist and The Next Chapter columnist. Lee, along with poet Dina Del Bucchia, hosts the Can't Lit podcast, a monthly audio series about all things Canadian literature.
Lee spoke with Shelagh Rogers about the podcast.
"We always try to broaden the discussion on Canadian literature and publishing on books. We often have a mixture of established writers and emerging writers. With the established writers, we try to ask them questions that nobody else has — and they can be very silly. We even got author David Chariandy to sing a song by 1980s rock group The Traveling Wilburys with us! He's a very polite person and I'm surprised he did it."
"The thing about Canadian literature is that people think it's staid or boring, and that discussions about inclusion or diversity aren't happening. We try to meander into these conversations, but in a natural and organic fashion. And we are both interested in craft. Dina, of course, is also a poet and she can ask wonderful questions about poetry that are well above my pay grade. And I care about things like how culture is being represented in our fiction, and people can present stories that we haven't heard from yet."
Jen Sookfong Lee's comments have been edited for length and clarity.