The Canon, capital C. The phrase evokes, for many, the same images. Hemingway. Faulkner. James. In short, old, dead, white guys. These are the books that were taught in schools for decades because they ‘defined’ literature. They were upheld by other (mostly) white males and beaten into the heads of just about everyone.
Even when they weren’t white.
Even when they weren’t male.
Even when everyone with a working brain and even the tiniest bit of a soul realized that the books that were purported to be The Canon, weren’t actually The Canon.
They were a canon, sure, but the books tossed around were not defining for everyone in the literary world and beyond. These books did not talk about race, about gender, about LGBTQ+ issues, about anything other than the often hypermasculine white male experience.
Discussion about what would go into a New Canon is not new. Scholars and writers have been talking about it for years now. I am not trying to take credit for that at all. What I want to do here at Enclave is to provide a space for a living, breathing New Canon. I want the writers involved in the literary world—and the critics, the publishers, the avid readers, everyone—to rewrite what The New Canon should be.
This will be a project that will, hopefully, live and grow as the community lives and grows. If you’ve ever read a book that has hit you hard, one that has changed your life, it needs to go on here. This isn’t a place to bash writers, but to celebrate the works and authors that are changing the literary landscape word by word.
What am I looking for?
The New Canon will be composed of essays, 500-2000 words on a book that you believe should be part of The New Canon. White male authors will be represented, but in a much smaller percentage than ever before. If you truly feel strongly about the work of a white male author, please indicate so in your email.
Pitches, essays, and queries can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.