November 22, 2015 Dirty Realism: You’re So Vanier Posted In: Academia, Exhibition

Join Associate Professor Roger Connah



What is ‘Dirty Realism’:
A literary term coined by Bill Buford in 1983 for the magazine Granta and described as follows: “Dirty Realism is the fiction of a new generation of American authors. They write about the belly-­‐side of contemporary life – a deserted husband, an unwed mother, a car thief, a pickpocket, a drug addict – but they write about it with a disturbing detachment, at times verging on comedy. Understated, ironic, sometimes savage, but insistently compassionate, these stories constitute a new voice in fiction.” In many ways this suits us as we explore the quarter in Ottawa, originally Gloucester Township, Eastview and now Vanier. Developing as a detached francophone area of the region, it is easily identified today in the sense of the popular urban myth as seamy and sketchy; made up of lower income households, some poverty and street-­‐walking crime. The picture offered expands; developers waiting in the wings with condo towers, ‘nice’ people ready to move in and another tame urbanism to mesh an already tamed Ottawa. Too general we say, too convenient! 

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