Jane Urquhart - Buying Time
Award-winning novelist Jane Urquhart says her first public grant for writing was almost as important to her parents, aunts and uncles as it was to her. “They always had me pegged as Jane, the impractical dreamer. Suddenly they had much more confidence in me, and what I had chosen to do. And their confidence fed my confidence.”
Published in 11 other countries and author of the best-selling “The Underpainter” (winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1997) and “The Stone Carvers” (shortlisted for the same award in 2001), Urquhart says public funding buys time for writers. “If I hadn’t had the grants, I would have had to find some other way of earning a living, and without large chunks of unstructured time you can’t be a writer.”
“In 1982, I had four stepchildren and a baby at home, and school hours and nap time were my only resource. My daughter always says I made her take naps till she was 18.”
It was also “enormously important” to Urquhart’s career that public grants were made to publications that featured Canadian writers.
“I think the two most exciting moments in my life were when my first poem was published in Fiddlehead magazine and when I got the news about my first Canada Council grant.”