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(Who are Quebec’s Writers? and Can’t Live off Writing) Statistiques en bref, No. 1 and 2

Original title: Qui sont les écrivains et les écrivaines du Québec? Écrire ne fait pas vivre

October 17, 200517 October 2005

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“Who are Quebec’s Writers?” provides a detailed sociological portrait of writers, based on a survey of 768 published writers in the province. The report shows that Quebec writers are largely based in Montreal (51%) and are predominantly male (63%). However, there are many more female writers in the younger age groups, so the proportion of male writers will decrease in the future. In contrast to the overall predominance of men, more women than men wrote literature for young people. The report also found that the proportion of writers under 45 is well below the proportion of all Quebecers in this age range. On average, Quebec writers indicated that they read 54 books per year.

Few writers (14%) were found to write on a full-time basis. In fact, the report stresses the versatility of writers, who are active in teaching, the media, workshops, conferences and translation (along with writing works). In addition, more than half of the writers surveyed had a book published in more than one literary category.

The report found “spectacular” inequalities in incomes between writers. In particular, older writers and male writers were found to earn more than their younger and female counterparts. The report concludes that writers, like other artists, are faced with a shifting and uncertain professional life.

“Can’t Live off Writing” is a short fact sheet based on the same survey as the longer sociological portrait. The fact sheet shows that nearly two-thirds of writers reported income from an area not directly related to creative work. Surprisingly, the report finds that writers, on average, have higher incomes than the overall Quebec population. However, those who spent more time on writing earned lower incomes than those who spent less time on writing.

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