Stories about Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others

Stories about Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others

Douglas Gibson

Language: English

Pages: 392

ISBN: 1770410686

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Stories about Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others

Douglas Gibson

Language: English

Pages: 392

ISBN: 1770410686

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“I’ll kill him!” said Mavis Gallant. Pierre Trudeau almost did, leading him (“Run!”) into a whizzing stream of traffic that almost crushed both of them. Alistair MacLeod accused him of a “home invasion” to grab the manuscript of No Great Mischief. And Paul Martin denounced him to a laughing Ottawa crowd, saying, “If Shakespeare had had Doug Gibson as an editor, there would be no Shakespeare!” On the other hand, Alice Munro credits him with keeping her writing short stories when the world demanded novels. Robertson Davies, with a nod to Dickens, gratefully called him “My Partner Frequent.” W.O. Mitchell summoned up a loving joke about him, on his deathbed. Stories About Storytellers shares these tales and many more, as readers follow Doug Gibson through 40 years of editing and publishing some of Canada’s sharpest minds and greatest storytellers. Gibson is a terrific storyteller himself, and through his recollections we get an inside view of Canadian politics and publishing that rarely gets told. From Jack Hodgins’ Vancouver Island to Harold Horwood’s Labrador, from Alice Munro’s Ontario to James Houston’s Arctic, Doug Gibson takes us on an unforgettable literary tour of Canada, going behind the scenes and between the covers, and opening up his own story vault for all to read and enjoy.

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greeted in the parking lot and outside the restaurant and by another diner in the restaurant) and told me about the book’s plot for the first time, he drove me to his office at the university. I noticed many handwritten scraps of paper. In response to my question, Alistair admitted that he wrote in longhand, and the absence of secretarial help in summer vacation time meant that his final chapters were being held up while he asked others to type it for him as a favour. I reeled at the thought of

. John Sewell!” To everyone’s surprise it proved to be true. The outsider made it, and did well at City Hall. Peter did not cover my amazingly successful speech, which clearly turned the tide in John’s favour. Once, during his time with Jan, the Gibson family was invited for a visit to the place at Rockwood, near Guelph. We must have arrived early, for Jan was not around, and our calls of “Anyone at home?” produced no results. Wandering in, we found Peter asleep with his bare feet up in the

Next Year Country, about his beloved Prairies, and Ordinary Russians, about the country that had just been opened up by glasnost. We stayed in touch by phone or by Russian tractor factory notes. That was how I learned with pleasure of his marriage to Lori, an old sweetheart from his Winnipeg days; of his George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an Outstanding Literary Career in B.C., the award arranged by the heroically ubiquitous Alan Twigg in 1997; of the Order of Canada honour in 1996;

overarching principle. The truth is that W.O. and I knew what it was — even if I, for one, couldn’t explain it. And I certainly can’t explain the matter of the title change to the novel that we had always called Trophies. Since it concerned a university professor, with framed degrees on his wall, who goes after a grizzly bear hide on a hunt that goes so badly wrong that he is seriously mauled, the title always seemed perfectly fine, and we had both accepted it as final. Until one morning, at

made a truncated speech of welcome. “You mentioned Henry Hudson briefly in your speech back there,” I said, “but I think you had more to say.” “Yes,” he replied, glad to tell the tale. He was a large, solid man with a dark, squarish face, and his English was good. “Henry Hudson came by here in 1610, with lots of beads to trade with our people, I guess for water and food. Now we still get some of our food in the traditional way, gathering eggs from seabirds’ nests, high on the cliffs.

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