Library closures in NL!!

libraryclosedsign

This is the letter I sent to all members of the provincial government in protest of the outrageous decision to tax books and close more than half our libraries!

30 April 2016

Good Morning,

Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
Cathy Bennett, Minister of Finance
Dale Kirby, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
MHAs

This week I was humiliated by my government.

These are the most troublesome words I have written in a very long time. And I have written many words in my time, most all of them about a homeland that I care for deeply.

It is a homeland I wish to see grow spiritually and intellectually, one I wish to see prosper. As do you, I do not doubt.

But taxing books and forcing a mass closure of libraries is absolutely not the way to go about it.

The citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador are in a financial quagmire, and, true enough, it is not the present government that put us there. But it is the members of this government who must demonstrate our priorities as a society as we struggle out of deficit and debt.

Literacy must be a priority.

Safeguarding easily accessed, knowledge-based resources must be a priority.

There are some belts that as citizens in a civilized, forward-thinking society we refrain from tightening. The belt that preserves and protects intellectual well-being is one of them, especially in light of the small fraction of the overall budget represented by this tax and these cuts.

I urge you all to reassess and reevaluate the choices being made.

We, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, need the conscientious, enlightened judgment of you the women and men elected to serve us.

in outrage and in hope,

Kevin Major

Printmaking on the Edge

The last month of 2014 saw the publication of Printmaking on the Edge: 40 Years at St. Michael’s, an art book I curated and wrote for Newfoundland’s own St. Michael’s Printshop, in celebration of its four decades of creative endeavour. A terrific project that gave me the opportunity to use my long-standing interest in visual art. I’m so pleased with the design of the book. It looks fabulous. (Available at The Rooms and the Heritage Shops in St. John’s, and by mail order through the Printshop’s website.)

Three trips with Adventure Canada

I did three trips with Adventure Canada this summer — Art on the Rock, Newfoundland Circumnavigation, and Newfoundland and Wild Labrador. The first was a 3-day cultural tour of St. John’s which I organize and lead, together with my wife Anne. The other two were aboard the Sea Adventurer, as one of the resource staff. Amazing journeys. Met some incredible people, saw some incredible sights. Adventure Canada takes adventure tourism to a whole new level.

A BBQ after going ashore in the Torngat Mountains. 

Hold Fast – the movie – opening December 6th

Hold Fast – the movie – has been making waves at film festivals from Berlin to Seoul, Halifax to right here in St. John’s, where it closed out the Women’s International Film Festival on October 26. The theatre at the Arts and Culture Centre was filled to its 1100-seat capacity. With a standing ovation the second the credits started to roll. What a memorable night! A great prelude to the film’s public release –  DECEMBER 6th – ST. JOHN’S & HALIFAX.

Hold Fast – the movie – moving into post production

I haven’t seen any footage as yet, but the word is it is looking very good. I spent a good deal of time on set during the shooting, and I’m certainly excited by what unfolded! Look for the movie’s release in 2013.

Just back from Ghana

I’ve just returned from a week in Ghana, West Africa, leading workshops for Ghanaian writers and editors to encourage the publication of more culturally-relevant, local fiction aimed at young people. I was volunteering on behalf of CODE (Canadian Organization for Development through Education) and the Ghana Book Trust. While there I also attended the ceremony for Ghana’s second annual Burt Awards. William Burt, Canadian philanthropist, has made a ten-year, generous commitment to four African countries, in the form of three book prizes each year for the best in local young adult literature.

A memorable experience indeed! The generosity and kindness of everyone has thoroughly endeared me to the country. A terrific first visit to Africa.

Hold Fast – the feature film

Hold Fast, my first novel, is being made into a movie! Shooting began this week, and will see Rock Island Productions moving about to various locations across the province. On Friday I ventured to the set in Tors Cove, where cameras have been rolling  for a few days. Got to stand behind an interior scene being filmed. Got to hang out with the crew, with producers Rosemary House (who also write the screenplay) and Judy Holm, director Justin Simms, and host of cast members, including Molly Parker, Adian Flynn, Des Walsh, Jane Dingle, and the two young fellows whose characters are at the core of the story – Avery Ash and Douglas Sullivan.

That’s Avery, who plays Michael, in the centre. He’s from Hant’s Harbour. And Douglas, to the left, from St. John’s, plays his cousin Curtis. I am thrilled the movie is all being shot on the Island, with so many of the cast and crew  from this place we call home.

Check it out on Facebook: “Hold Fast – the feature film”.