The National Media Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to present the 2019 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement to Linda Spalding, an acclaimed writer and a longtime editor of the literary journal Brick.
Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Linda moved to Toronto, Ontario (after stints in Hawaii and Mexico) in 1982. In 1985, the “story goes Linda took on the role of publisher of Brick on a dare,” says Laurie D. Graham, the current publisher of Brick. That dare lasted a remarkable 33 years, as Linda oversaw 75 issues of Brick. Linda was the “editor and sometimes publisher” says Kim Jernigan (Special Projects Editor, The New Quarterly), and now she “continues as the one of the magazine’s owners (a.k.a. Fairy-godparents).”
Throughout Linda’s 75 issue tenure at Brick, the magazine “underwent an unbelievable transformation… a complete editorial and design overhaul, really turning the magazine into something completely new—a transformation that would by any standards be thought of as a very risky undertaking, were it not so successful,” says Laurie.
With Linda at the helm, “Brick dared to be international,” Kim reminds us, despite existing in a time of literary nationalism, with funding dependent on publishing Canadian content. Pushing at the boundaries of Brick allowed the magazine to flourish within Canada and gain recognition globally. Linda’s transformation of Brick included publishing a multiplicity of content (photographs, drawings, handwritten letters, manuscript pages, meditations, field reports, essay length reviews, memoirs, and more) and voices.
Canadian novelist Michael Helm writes that, “until I found Brick, as a writer I’d been low on hope, and as a reader, starved for local amazements.” Kim echoes this sentiment, in that “it was Brick that allowed [her] to imagine there might be a place for a new writer.”
While growing Brick, Linda published an astonishing seven books, her novel “The Purchase” winning the 2012 Governor general’s Literary Award. Earlier, in 2003, Linda received the Harbourfront Festival Prize recognizing her contributions to the Canadian literary community.
Kim is careful to point out that Linda “paid attention to the bottom line, working to keep Brick solvent but not at the expense of its contributors.” Michael gives us a glimpse into Brick’s editorial meetings, in which Linda “was forever trying to find ways to give contributors more of the magazine’s meager funds.” It seems that throughout Brick’s transformation, Linda’s dedication to both established and emerging voices remained constant.
Constant, too, are the words by which Linda’s colleagues describe her: Kim speaks of her “editorial acumen and fierce determination,” reading submissions with “clarity, tact, and trenchancy.” Michael Redhill—in a letter to Linda, published in Brick—writes that he has been “lucky to encounter such ferocity, which is a sign of authenticity, because behind it is a person whose love can never be doubted and whose passion is so deep it’s a style.” This fierce love for Brick and its surrounding community makes the fairy godparent comparison all the more true. Linda Spalding spent 33 years working magic, turning the magazine into “more than the sum of its parts,” says Kim.
“To be part of Brick is to know that Linda is now in your corner, and that’s perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from her: that you can show care for the people who are making this magazine with you, that it is required of you to show care,” says Laurie.
For the transformative role Linda has played in the Canadian magazine publishing field and in the lives of Canada’s creators, the NMAF is incredibly proud to present Linda with this year’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.
NOMINEES – 2019 NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS
Finalists for the 42nd National Magazine Awards will be announced tomorrow, May 1, 2019 at 10am ET on www.magazine-awards.com,on Facebook and Twitter at @MagAwards. The 42nd National Magazine Awards gala is set for May 31, 2019 at the Arcadian Court. Join us to Celebrate Canadian Creators. Tickets will be on sale on Wednesday, May 1.
ABOUT THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The NMAF’s most prestigious individual prize is the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, an award that recognizes an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry. The award is open to circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, creators, designers, production managers – in short, to everyone in the industry. It cannot be given posthumously. For more information and previous winners, visit magazine-awards.com/oa.