John Degen, a novelist and poet who has also worked in the magazine industry is moving from being the literature officer of the Ontario Arts Council to become the executive director of The Writers Union of Canada (TWUC). According to a story in Quill & Quire, he is to assume the position November 26.
He will be bringing to the job his reputation as a fierce advocate on behalf of writers' rights. He replaces Kelly Duffin who is leaving to become executive director of the Ontario Institute of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada.
Degen was formerly the executive director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada and the communications manager of Magazines Canada. He is the author of The Uninvited Guest (Nightwood) and founding editor of Ink magazine. He also hosts a website and a literary podcast called The Book Room.In a press release from TWUC,Degen said though he would have been very happy to stay at the OAC until retirement, he is energized by the new opportunity.
"While I'm fully aware of the challenge and work ahead, I want to stress my overwhelming confidence in the continuation of Canadian writing as a profession. There are far too many gloomy predictions out there. I believe there has simply never been a better time to be writing in Canada. As a great Canadian publisher, Matt Williams at House of Anansi Press, wrote just this week, "We don’t come to work to survive. We come to work to publish books for readers today and into the future." "