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Little Sister’s Profiled in the Globe and Mail

June 13th, 2008     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

I’ve long been a big fan of the Little Sister’s Bookstore in Vancouver. It’s actually where my love of Feminist literature continued and my love of Queer literature really developed, where I discovered great writers like Anna Camilleri and Ivan E. Coyote, and where most of my (few) dollars were spent when I was broke and fresh out of university.

The Globe and Mail has posted an interview with Jim Deva, who opened the store with his partner, Bruce Smyth in 1983. The two have been involved in a 22-year court battle over “the importation of books that customs officials deemed offensive.” As a result, the pair have become heroes of the gay rights and anti-censorship movements.

Deva has some interesting things to say about starting the business:

I was raised on a farm in rural Alberta. My father was very, very right wing. I told him I wanted to open a bookstore. I didn’t give any more specifics. He gave me a small amount of money, which I paid back. But he had no idea that he was financing the first gay bookstore in Western Canada. About three years later, he came to town and he had a conniption. I got disinherited, couldn’t go back to my family. But my father eventually died, and now I do go home and it’s very nice.

Deva and Smyth are selling the business for personal reasons. The Globe and Mail adds: “…the store is now for sale, to the right buyer—someone who will continue the war and keep key staff.” Via Quill Blog.

“Little Sister’s is a legend in its own time. What fight, what soul, what courage and principled defiance in the face of individual and state thuggery. They stood up for the civil rights of all Canadians—including those who would never have dreamed of crossing their threshold.” —Ann-Marie MacDonald, author

Tags: bibliothèque, queeriosities

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