“Here & Now: An Anthology
of Queer Italian-Canadian
Writing” with Licia Canton

TORONTO / MONTRÉAL – On June 22nd at 5:00pm EDT, the Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian-Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto and Accenti Magazine will host the launch of Here & Now: An Anthology of Queer Italian-Canadian Writing, edited by Dr. Licia Canton (in the pic).

To register for this Zoom event, please visit: queeranthologylaunch.eventbrite.ca

What inspired you to put together Here & Now: An Anthology of Queer Italian-Canadian Writing?
«I was initially inspired to put together Here & Now after reading Monica Meneghetti’s piece in the Globe and Mail titled “I’m Queer and Italian-Canadian: Coming Out Was Twice as Hard.” In this essay, Meneghetti describes how she would leave out the queer content of her memoir when presenting it to some audiences and instead would focus on the food.
I am inspired by all of the contributors and am very grateful that they have trusted me with their writing! I believe that this anthology can start an important conversation between the queer community and the Italian-Canadian community, because these two communities don’t necessarily talk to one another. Hopefully these conversations will mean that more queer Italian-Canadians will have the opportunity to be understood and accepted within their families and the Italian-Canadian community».

Can you tell us a bit about the authors included in the anthology?
«This anthology contains the works of 38 contributors, including the three introductory essays written by three Queer Studies scholars that frame the creative writing. The youngest contributor is in their twenties, while the oldest is in their eighties. For some contributors this is their first time being published, while others are established authors or artists. Evidently there is diversity within the contributors of this anthology and through this they are able to express their unique positionality. I also included the works of three established authors, who happen to be allies, in the anthology. It’s important to include the experiences of allies because it is not only queer Italian-Canadians who will be reading this anthology. I hope that the Italian-Canadian community as a whole will be interested in hearing these experiences».

What cultural and/or social impact do you hope this anthology will have?
«This is for my parents and their generation, and my children and their generation. I am surprised that this anthology wasn’t done before, and I am hopeful that other projects will blossom out of it. I see Here & Now as the beginning of a domino effect that will result in further research, documentation, and celebration of the queer Italian-Canadian community. There is also a culture of silence surrounding the Italian-Canadian community when it comes to queer members of the community. I hope that this anthology can start to fill the silence».

How do you hope to continue this project? What are some future steps?
«There is already discussion happening surrounding a second volume to Here & Now, and another documentary as well. I hope that the contributors and supporters will be inspired by the launch of Here & Now, and that more individuals will have the opportunity to have their work featured in the next volume. I am also looking forward to an in-person launch of the anthology sometime in the future».

There are many ways to support this project: if somebody wants to donate directly to the Queer Italian-Canadian project, they can write an e-mail (lcanton@accenti.ca). You can also support the project by ordering the book (https://accenti.ca/product/here-now-anthology/) or asking your local libraries to order the book.

If you want to stay updated and connected on social media, you can follow the Creative Spaces: Queer and Italian-Canadian documentary page on Facebook, the Accenti Twitter (@accentimagazine), Facebook, and Instagram (@accenti_mag) pages and the University of Toronto Italian Studies Instagram page (@uoftitalian). There is also the website www.queeritaliancanadian.com/, that serves as a repository of information about the documentary Creative Spaces, and the anthology Here & Now.

You can also follow the Here & Now: an Anthology of Queer Italian-Canadian Writing Facebook page, where the individual contributors are being featured on the throughout June.

(article by Heather Sdao)

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