Welcome to Queer & Italian Canadian. This website serves as a repository of information about two key projects: the documentary Creatives Spaces: Queer and Italian Canadian (2021) and the anthologies Here and Now: An Anthology of Queer Italian-Canadian Writing Volume I (Longbridge Books, 2021) and Volume II (Longbridge Books, 2024). Both works aim to shed light on lives and works of queer Italian-Canadian writers working today.
Some Italian Canadians are still hesitant to openly identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. In some circles, being queer is still taboo. The queer experience is not traditionally discussed in Italian-Canadian households. It’s not a topic for Sunday lunch with the whole family. Nonetheless, I was surprised to hear from my children, who are now young adults, that some young Italian Canadians are still reluctant to speak openly to their parents and to friends as well. In an attempt to help improve the situation, in 2020 I began working on the documentary Creative Spaces: Queer and Italian Canadian (2021). I had initially planned to interview writers across Canada. Unfortunately, the pandemic and lockdown prevented me, and the film crew, from interviewing writers elsewhere. Numerous queer Italian Canadians, and allies, came forward and showed interest in our project, resulting in the first volume Here and Now: An Anthology of Queer Italian-Canadian Writing, and, subsequently, its sequel.
Here and Now features short stories, poems, memoirs, and excerpts of novels, plays and film scripts in English. These ground-breaking volumes are the most comprehensive collection yet of queer Italian-Canadian writing, and a milestone in Italian-Canadian studies and Canadian literature. They fill the gap within Italian-Canadian studies while demonstrating that queer Italian-Canadian writers deserve attention and public celebration. Many of these literary artists are already well-known within the Canadian literary landscape, but they may not be recognized as being of Italian heritage. These volumes encourages the Italian-Canadian community to claim these important writers as their own, and the field of Italian-Canadian studies to formally acknowledge the richness of queer Italian-Canadian production.
I hope these volumes help increase sensibilities towards queer identities and realities while simultaneously expanding the field of Italian-Canadian studies. Both the documentary and the books are useful tools for educators and researchers. There is still a lot of work to be done in this field. In the meantime, I hope that these anthologies will inspire some change in dinner conversations and lead to more inclusivity.
– Licia Canton, editor and director
Click here to see Licia Canton’s presentation Queer(ing) Italo-Québécois Literature.
Big thanks go to our supporters: Queer Studies in Quebec Research Group (ÉRÉQQ), the Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW), the Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian-Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto, English Language Arts Network (ELAN), the University of Calabria, the Mariano A. Elia Chair in Italian-Canadian Studies at York University, Longbridge Books and Accenti Magazine.