Yann Martel to match donations to Al & Eurithe Purdy A-frame Foundation Campaign

People have told us we built too near the lake

“The flood plain is dangerous” they said

And no doubt they know more about it than we do

– but here wind pressed down on new-formed ice

From “On the Flood Plain”


When Man Booker Prize winner Yann Martel read the Al Purdy A-frame Association’s Annual Report for 2022 and learned that the A-frame is sinking into the mud, he asked how he could help. Martel has been a long-time supporter of the A-frame residency program.

Yann Martel, photo by Pabitra Das

“Purdy wrote many of his masterpieces in that house and the A-frame, then as now, influences the Canadian literary landscape,” he says. “It is well known for its influence on the development of writers’ projects and their careers.”

From now until the end of April – National Poetry Month – Martel will match every donation dollar for dollar up to $5,000.

“The importance of these self-directed residencies in the creation of work, and the long-form thinking time this residency can provide, cannot be overstated,” says Jean Baird, Co-founder and President. “Writers need to be supported with the space, time and money to work in solitude, away from usual responsibilities. Yann understands this. He saw the urgency and stepped forward. We are grateful for his support.”

Like many houses of its era, the A-frame was built on shaky foundations with minimal drainage. With rising water levels, the A-frame’s crawlspace has started to flood, main support beams are rotting and the floor is buckling. Unless action is taken very soon, the whole structure will be a write-off. The house needs to be saved. Again!

Howard White, Co-founder and Property Chair, reports, “We have consulted experts in foundation repair and received a viable plan that ensures the house is preserved for the ages. But the price tag is steep – $300,000. We need to start work ASAP. Some of the initial work with respect to obtaining permits has begun, but we can’t start actual construction until we have the necessary funds in hand. The good news is that we already have $78,450 specifically for this project.”

“There are only a handful of literary house residencies in Canada and we can’t afford to lose a single one,” Yann says. And as he wrote in the Author’s Note to the award-winning Life of Pi: “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.”

Please donate to help make the Yann Martel Campaign a huge success. On behalf of Yann and Canadian writers, we thank you.

Thank you for your consideration, and your support!