April 17, 2007 / 1:08 PM / 11 years ago

Author tries to interest leader in arts, books

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Best-selling Canadian author Yann Martel, worried about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apparent lack of interest in the arts, sent him a book on Monday and said he would continue doing so once a fortnight.

Spanish born Canadian author Yann Martel poses for photographs after winning the Booker Prize for Fiction 2002 at The British Museum in London in this October 22, 2002 file photo. Martel, worried about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apparent lack of interest in the arts, sent him a book on Monday and said he would continue doing so once a fortnight. REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid.

Martel, who wrote the novel “Life of Pi”, was upset that Harper had paid no attention during a recent parliamentary ceremony to honor Canadian artists.

Harper, whose Conservatives won the January 2006 election, is a rather wooden figure who has expressed little enthusiasm for the arts.

“What makes him tick? No doubt he is busy. No doubt he is deluded by that busyness. No doubt being Prime Minister fills his entire consideration and froths his sense of busied importance to the very brim. And no doubt he sounds and governs like one who cares not a jot for the arts,” wrote Martel.

“But he must have moments of stillness ... For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness.”

The first book Martel sent Harper was "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Russian author Leo Tolstoy. Those wishing to keep in touch with Martel's campaign can log on to whatisstephenharperreading.ca.

No one in Harper’s press office was immediately available for comment.

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