"Flowers have been getting a lot of publicity this year"
1968 and David Helwig's "Something for Olivia's Scrapbook I Guess"
From: 1968 in Canada
In 1968, Robert Weaver’s edited anthology Canadian Short Stories: Second
Series was published, including stories by well-known writers such as Hugh Garner and Morley Callaghan and significant new work from emerging writers. The title story from Alice Munro’s debut collection Dance of the Happy Shades featured a publication that would see her win the Governor General’s Award in the same year. Less known for producing short fiction, David Helwig also features with the early story “Something for Olivia’s Scrapbook I Guess.” Preceding its inclusion in Helwig’s debut fiction collection The Streets of Summer (1969), the story positions the reader in Yorkville, a Toronto neighbourhood intimately tied to Canada’s sixties counterculture. Where Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and many others began their careers, Helwig’s characters enact life at street level. This chapter examines the time and place of Helwig’s story and its publication context to reconsider the symbolism of 1968 in Canadian literature.
Will Smith is a lecturer in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling and holds a doctorate in Canadian Literature from the University of Nottingham. His thesis analyzed representations of Toronto in twenty-first-century literature. He has recently published articles on the author Bradda Field, prize culture, and self-publishing.