We learnt from DB Scott’s Canadian Magazines blog that after 10 years Toronto Life is pulling the plug on its Summer Fiction Issue. Scott, who gets his copy of Toronto Life even earlier than Torontoist does, quotes from TL editor John Macfarlane’s editors column:
“I wish I could say that in publishing such stories we were creating an appetite for ﬁction. But, while I’m certain they found an appreciative audience, there’s no evidence it was growing. So with regret—it’s been a labour of love—we’ve decided to make this, the 10th summer ﬁction issue, our last.”
This leaves very, very few mainstream magazines in Canada still publishing and paying well for fiction. We could lament the decline of fiction reading in contemporary society, or wax about the glory days when every magazine published and paid for short fiction but we won’t.
Something else has us concerned. Over the years TO Life’s Fiction Issue has published dozens of writers, not all of whom have been from Toronto, and many stories set outside of the city. Macfarlane feels this is one criticism of the issue, we actually feel that this is one of its strengths. It is pretty hard to defend the publication of a writer with no connection to Toronto in a magazine that calls itself Toronto Life but Toronto writers who decide to write about other parts of the world should be encouraged and many of our best writers actually do this. The cancellation of this issue will make it harder for these stories to gain an appreciative audience.
It also makes us look a little provincial. Torontonians aren’t just from elsewhere, they also live, work and travel all over the world. We thought that Torontonians, or at least Toronto Life readers would be cosmopolitan enough to appreciate this fact.