Yann Martel is my hero.

Best-selling Canadian author Yann Martel, worried about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apparent lack of interest in the arts, sent him a book on Monday and said he would continue doing so once a fortnight.
Martel, who wrote the novel "Life of Pi," was upset that Harper had paid no attention during a recent parliamentary ceremony to honor Canadian artists.
Harper, whose Conservatives won the January 2006 election, is a rather wooden figure who has expressed little enthusiasm for the arts.
Here's the link for that yahoo story... or if you're interested, you can always go to http://whatisstephenharperreading.ca/ where Yann Martel is posting the name of the book he sends to the Prime Minister, the inscription, and the letter that accompanies each. On the website, Martel writes this:
Who is this man? What makes him tick? No doubt he is busy. No doubt he is deluded by that busyness. No doubt being Prime Minister fills his entire consideration and froths his sense of busied importance to the very brim. And no doubt he sounds and governs like one who cares not a jot for the arts.
But he must have moments of stillness. And so this is what I propose to do: not to educate—that would be arrogant, less than that—to make suggestions to his stillness.
And so, he's sending him a book every two weeks. Amazing. I mean seriously, that's fantastic. Unless he wants to brush off Yann Martel, then Harper (or someone on his staff), needs to read each book and return comments to Martel. I'm just delighted by this idea... The first book that he has sent Harper is Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Check back to his site to see if the Prime Minister responds.


jadis said...

oooh i like ivan ilych! it's a short story, too. very doable in a fortnight, even for a PM!!

what a cool idea.

Melanie said...

Except that Stephen Harper is the king of the brush-off, freeze out, or whatever you want to call it. If there is ever a response from the PM I will be Very Surprised. Still, there's been a lot of response from citizens, which I suspect is what Martel was hoping for as well.