Thursday, September 19, 2019

HIstory of Graeme Gibson

Graeme Gibson, a beautiful, inspirational man, died in London recently. There is a nice appreciation of him in The Guardian, as well as many Canadian sources.

In June 2013 I interviewed Graeme Gibson and Margaret Atwood (both of whom I knew -- professionally, you might say, and mostly through the Writers' Union of Canada) as part of an oral history project on the founding of the Union. The following is an excerpt from that interview, previously published in a 2015 Writers' Union publication, Founding the Writers' Union: An Oral History.[1]

What we really were concerned about in the one fundamental area was -- how best to say? -- managing the professionalism. Managing how writers were being treated by publishers, by government, and establishing a sense of authority for the profession.
 Gibson: On some level the Union started with the sale of Ryerson Press.[2] It was perhaps inevitable once that had happened, because Ryerson Press was another one of the traditional publishers that was sold to another country. At that time I had been told by an American-owned publisher that they could not publish Five Legs because New York would not let them and that branch plants do not do research.   That was one part of it.
Jim Lorimer, who was with the Canadian Publishers’ Association — as compared to the branch plants bunch -- got onto this very quickly. He started this rebellion, and a bunch of us decided we had to have a protest. [Jim made a poster that] depicts the Egerton Ryerson statue outside of Ryerson University, at that time called Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. I was teaching there at that point, and Jim and I and others decided it would be a good idea if we had a mournful celebration of what had happened to Ryerson Press around that statue. So I got permission from the principal or the director of Ryerson — he didn’t know what he was getting into. And what we did there is we had a big American flag and a ladder, and we called the press in, and to our astonishment they all turned up – cameras, all kinds of things. I climbed up the ladder and draped the American flag around the statue of Egerton Ryerson, and we all sang ‘I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.’ The press covered it extensively.  And we all rushed home and watched ourselves on television.

We discovered we had influence. This motley mob of I guess 12 or 15 of us there — a mixture of people — if we could get into the press…. That was something we hadn’t known. It hadn’t occurred to us at all. That then started the pot boiling.
The next step was that the Ontario government established a Royal Commission on Writing and Publishing.[3]
Moore: Which was somewhat driven by the Ryerson sale.
Gibson: It was driven exclusively by it. I have all the newspaper clippings from that summer and Ryerson University has them too, and there was a hell of a lot of coverage. And the government moved. Over the years that I’ve been involved in culture and politics, I’ve discovered that the most supportive members that we have, have been from the Tories — I’m saying Tories as opposed to our current disgusting mob —and not from the Liberals or the New Democrats. They just were not anywhere as interested as the Tories. At heart I am a Red Tory although I’ve never voted for it.
So the Ryerson Press events had the Commission set up, and it was a brilliant triumvirate who led it. One was Dalton Camp,[4] another was Marsh Jeanneret, who was U of T Press, and Richard Rohmer, who was a general in the Canadian Air Force and wrote potboilers, nationalist, anti-American potboilers, things called Balls.[5] And the three of them were brilliant. They were committed and they were all quality people. They went around and came back with a report, which I haven’t read for 35 or 40 years, but I suspect if I went back and read it or you read it, it is still the best analysis of what needed to be done to protect writing and publishing culture in Canada. Nothing happened as a result.  Well, that’s not true.  I think more money went to Canada Council. Tom Symons, who was at Peterborough, the university there – good man, another Red Tory -- brought out a book on the failure to teach Canadian literature in the school system or the universities.[6]
Anyway, the Royal Commission got around to inviting the poets — there was the League of Poets at that point — and all kinds of others, publishers.
But there was no organization with prose book writers. I think it was probably Dalton Camp who said to Max Braithwaite[7] that he had to get together with prose book writers, so they could talk to us and we could talk to them. So we got together, we did it in Braithwaite’s apartment, and we all swore that we were not going to argue and we were not going to whine, that we were going to be mature artists. 
When we get there, there’s not a big crowd.[8] It’s at OISE and there in the back room was Hugh Garner — Cabbagetown. So there he is. We were all sitting up at the front and there’s Hugh Garner sitting at the back. And I thought, ‘Oh Christ.’  But of course we had to invite him up, and he came up and immediately began trashing everybody, particularly women.
Atwood: He was the one who said to Alice Munro, ‘You might be a good storywriter but I wouldn’t want to sleep with you.’ She said, ‘Nobody invited you.’
Gibson: Anyway, he goes on and on. It’s just a disaster. So I said, ‘I’m not going to sit up here with Hugh Garner.’ And so a bunch of us got up, went back, and sat back in the audience. And Bill French[9] wrote a slightly mocking piece about the event.  And so we sort of trudged out. And we go into … the King Cole Room?
Atwood:   Something like The Pilot? 
Gibson: No, it was under the Hotel. 
Atwood:  The Park Plaza? That’s the King Cole Room. Where you could get the draught beer. 
Gibson: Yeah, for 5 cents a glass.
Atwood:  It was divided into Gentlemen only and Ladies and Escorts, and of course we were in the Ladies and Escorts.
Gibson: And we started talking and we decided we had to form an organization. And I sort of took it on.
Moore: Can I just stop you?  Before we get to the organization, I think we need to situate you both as writers about 1970? You’d both published books.
Atwood: In 1969 we were both nominated for the Governor General’s Award. Neither of us won it. We met at the Milton Acorn event, because Milton felt so bad when he didn’t win it.[10]  
Gibson:  On Spadina, Grossman’s Tavern.
Atwood: I had just published The Edible Woman. Graeme had just published Five Legs. I had recently been exposed to the fact that people in the United States had agents. “What’s that?” — because up until that time you dealt with the publisher one-on-one, and you believed what they told you or not. You had no way of cross-checking whether any of this was true. When they said our standard advance for a first novelist was 10 cents.
There were no agents except for a couple of speaking agents. There was nobody you could go to. In fact, when my U.S. publisher said to me, ‘You need an agent,’ I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ ‘Yes, you do.’ ‘No I don’t’.  He said, ‘If you ever do need one, let me know, because have I got the agent for you.’ That ended up happening, but meanwhile it was clear that writers in Canada were sailing their boats on their own. They had no source of information.
Moore: What about the small presses? The House of Anansi, newpress and the other little presses? They were beginning to appear at that time?
Atwood: They were appearing … I think Coach House ’66 and Anansi ’67. Couple of others around that time. Flying by the seat of the pants. There were a few literary magazines, similarly flying. And there was Robert Weaver’s Anthology,[11] which was a major force — a radio program.
Gibson:  A saint!
Atwood:  A lot of people first got paid for their work through Anthology, the radio program.
Dennis Lee and I went to college together, and Dennis came to me with what I thought was a mad idea. I’d published The Circle Game with Contact Press — 220 copies or something.  It unexpectedly won the Governor General’s Award. There were no copies left at that moment. I guess it was 420 copies. And Dennis said, ‘We’re starting this publishing company called House of Anansi and we want to reprint your book.’ And I said, ‘Oh. How many would you reprint? And he said, ‘We thought 3,000.’ And I thought, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ He said, ‘What we’ll do is we’ll apply for grants for the writers and the writers will then kick the money back into the publishing company; that’s how we’ll do it.’ I said, ‘Fine, whatever.’ And so they did do that, and I did do that, and they did start it up, and then Graeme got involved in it. Meanwhile, I was off in Edmonton and England, and Dennis wrote to me and said would I come onto the board. ‘What’s a board? Sure. For my old friend Dennis” — not knowing it was a house of vice, intrigue, murder. Blood all over the floor. [laughter] So I eventually came back and Graeme was already associated with it, so there was that crossover as well. But it was a time of much ferment and a huge number of ideas bubbling and boiling around — and to situate it again, Expo ’67 had just taken place, which was a high point for Canada’s belief in itself, a sort of, Hey, we can do this on the world stage. What do you know, we pulled it off! -- which was our feeling about just about everything we were doing at that time.
Gibson: It was just an astonishing time.
Atwood: The poets were first to form a network. That was in the ‘60s, and why was that? Because poetry was cheap and you could do it in your cellar and contact other poets, and they ended up sort of visiting each other and sleeping on your floor and that sort of thing. They formed the League of Canadian Poets on somebody’s lawn, with F.R. Scott and the anthologist, A.J.M. Smith. That was formed before the Writers’ Union, about five years before — a bit later ‘60s. So yes, poets knew each other and going on the Greyhound bus with their Canada Council $100 to give readings, which was a lot of money for a poet.
Moore: When you can buy beer for 5 cents.
Atwood: So the poets’ network was there but the novelists’ network was not, and you met people more or less one on one. I knew Margaret Laurence from England in 1969-70 and I knew Alice [Munro] from just shortly before that time. There was some crossover with the poets and the prose writers, and I knew people that way. But there was no place for people to get together, and people were working on their own.
Moore: Just to follow up about the poets, Andreas Schroeder told me that you recruited him to the Writers’ Union on a flight from the League of Poets meeting in Edmonton coming back to Toronto.
Atwood: Probably.
Moore: And you were both somehow dissatisfied with the League of Poets, and you thought you needed something else.
Atwood: Well, it was a nice talk-shop but it had no clout.
Gibson: We were after politics.
Atwood: Things like overruns of our novels being sold to jobbers, sold to remainder houses in Canada coming through from the States. We wanted to meet with politicians and say, ‘Why are you allowing this to happen?’ I remember that meeting quite clearly, because the minister said, ‘Don’t you want customers to have cheap books?’ It’s the same thing that’s going on now with the online stuff.
Moore:  How do you go from talking in a pub to having an organization?
Gibson: Well, I went to Alma Lee, who was with Anansi and I said we’re going to form a Union, and if you help me do it, I’ll make sure you’re the executive director and so she came on.  We had no money at that point. We got together and talked at Marian’s and various other places, and I went in to see that dear man at the Ontario Arts Council, Ron Evans, because some way along the road it was clear that if we were going to do this, we would very quickly have to engage people right across the country, even in the preliminary discussions. We couldn’t do it just in Toronto. We knew we couldn’t do it with Quebec. Quebec didn’t have an organization at that point either, but we knew there would be no chance at all that they would join a Writers’ Union of Canada.
Atwood: This was the high point of separatism.
Gibson: We knew Andy [Schroeder] and people on the West Coast and Harold Horwood in the East Coast.
Atwood: We knew Pierre Berton.
Gibson: I said to Ron, ‘We need enough money to bring together, let’s say, 25 or 30 writers. Many would be coming from central Canada, but we also brought them in from Newfoundland and Victoria.’ And he gave me the money.
Moore: That was just what, discretionary funds the Art Council had? It couldn’t have been a program?
Gibson: He was the literary officer or — he was the significant person.
Atwood: Things had not been bureaucratized then in the way they are now. It was the same with the Canada Council. The same with the early days of the CBC. There was a lot of improvisation and making stuff up and creativity. Unfortunately, once people who see it as their job to be professional bureaucrats and have taken arts administration courses get in there, it’s a different story.
Gibson: But it was really loosey-goosey for the writers as well. There was nothing there. And so all kinds of people who would never at this stage … they came! You can’t imagine how complete the coverage was when we asked for it. We only had two people say they wouldn’t join the Union, and one of them was Morley Callaghan.[12] Morley said to me, ‘I’d be more trouble for you in the Union than out of it’ — which is true. [laughter] And the other one was the man who wrote all those hundreds and hundreds of dreary books from Quebec, Hugh Hood.[13] Hugh Hood wrote to me: ‘I’m not going to let anyone look over my shoulder when I’m writing.’ Those were the only two.
Atwood: It’s thanks to Pierre Berton that the decision was made to make it a Union, not a league or an association.
Gibson: But there was a lot of us on that too. Harold Horwood …
Atwood: Harold Horwood, having been an MP [in Newfoundland], was excellent on Robert’s Rules of Order and how we should actually conduct ourselves.  
Gibson: He would stand up in meetings. If there was a discussion going on, he said: ‘Out of Order!  You’re out of order.’ And he was right every time.  And [F.R.] Scott — he helped with our constitution.
Moore: And was that right there in the beginning?
Gibson: Yeah. See, even we believed somehow the story that writers would battle — their egos would battle. And when we started out, even we tended to believe that. So we had all these things in place. Certainly in the first five years, there were spirited arguments! But what we all discovered that novelists — I think because novels are a social forum — we were very practical.
Atwood: You also have to be practical to be a self-employed writer. You have to be.
Gibson: But painters don`t necessarily do that or poets don’t do it.
Atwood: When they get together, no.
Gibson: The Union has worked very well. We`ve had some ghastly moments, but how could you not in forty years? So it just sort of coalesced. We started at a meeting at Ryerson where I was still teaching there, and Ryerson gave us a space for nothing.
Moore: That was in June of ‘72, the first gathering?  [Actually: November 1972]
Gibson: I think so. That’s right.
Moore: And was that bringing people in from out of town?
Gibson: Oh, there were people from out of town. It was a small group, and we had to have representation … and the other thing we did is, we knew we had to have significant representation from every element in prose, so that meant Robertson Davies[14] joined right away, Pierre joined right away, Farley Mowat did.
Atwood: Margaret Laurence did, Marian [Engel].
Gibson:   and all kinds of younger ones as well. In retrospect, collectively, we did a really great job of organizing. Once it began, it began to coalesce. It was really interesting.
Moore: There’s an idea around that it was all fiction, that non-fiction wasn’t allowed in the beginning. That isn’t the case, because Pierre and Farley. Was there a debate about whether it should be?
Gibson: Oh yes, there was. And John Metcalf and some others left.
Atwood: Not immediately.
Gibson: No, John was terrific. He was hugely helpful for the first couple of years. Back then, he could be a hugely funny man. Sharp. Mean. But very funny. And he worked very hard. I think he was among some of the very early – the part of the organization that was letting people in or not. And he did a terrific job.
Atwood: But he wanted more like an elite, quality club.
Gibson: He had no trouble at the beginning. But I think he was unhappy with a lot of the nomination-running. It’s a pity he left but…  He’s been very difficult for a lot of people around, but I had no trouble with him. The academy might have been a nice thing for someone to have put together.
Moore: He in fact was one of the people who described how important it was at those meetings like the one in June ’73 that he met all the writers that he’d corresponded with.
Gibson: I think that was true for all of us. I don’t recall in the first two or three years any acrimony.
Atwood: Not personally. People disagreed about things.
Gibson: It was the hammering out of what turned out to be the Union and the fact that Scott gave us the constitution that was impeccable and Harold was there to provide order — that it was well formed.
Moore: How did you draw Frank Scott in writing the constitution for the Union?
Gibson: That was his profession. And so we decided we were going to get the best person we could.  And because he was a poet. He came to both meetings and at the end of the second one, he said, ‘Okay, now you have your constitution.’
Atwood: You should talk to Silver Donald Cameron, Rudy Wiebe.  A memorable moment was when Rudy Wiebe went onto the dance floor and he didn’t actually dance but he swayed to and fro. And he told me the following joke, ‘Why are Mennonites against sexual intercourse before marriage?’ ‘Because it might lead to dancing.’
A lot of different people.  It was an enormously disparate group.
Gibson: Margaret Laurence called it a tribe. For all the kind of sentimentality of that, it’s true.  It works.  As a for-instance, when any meeting ever takes place, someone’s going to say it’s a tribe. 
Atwood: I’m going to tell you about two fundraising ideas that people may not have told you about. One of them was the pornography project. We were going to write porno and put it into a book like Naked Came the Stranger[15], but in fact nobody was any good at it [laughter] except Marian Engel. Marian’s piece turned into Bear. People either wrote failed porno or unfortunately veered off into satire, which is what I did. I wrote a piece “Across Canada by Pornograph.” It was a different kind of pornography for each region.
 Yeah, that was around ’74-75. I know because I was babysitting Marian’s twins while she was off writing part of Bear. That didn’t work out well, they were hyperactive. They kept me on the hop.  
And the second one was the Eclectic Typewriter Review.
Gibson:  Boy, that was brilliant.
Atwood: Unfortunately, we never repeated it. It was basically high school skit night. 
Gibson: We took a theatre out the Danforth.
Atwood: People did things — stuff they were good at. Some of the things they did were serious, like Andreas and Rudy sang Mennonite hymns very beautifully and Hélène Holden[16] sang a piece called “Jack the Knife” about Jack McClelland. Jack then wandered in, in a cape with fangs.  We weren’t expecting the fangs!
One of my things that I did was the Farley Mowat Dancers, which was a lot of short women with beards and wigs who looked an awful lot like Farley Mowat. The other one was The Toronto Literary Mafia, in which I got Douglas Marshall, William French and Robert Fulford — the three big reviewers for the papers — to do a piece on The Toronto Literary mafia. I talked them into it by saying the others had agreed. They were supposed to recite this little poem about them, and then there was supposed to be a chorus in which I wanted them to sing and do the cha-cha. They declined to sing, so I got an opera singer to do it on stage. Then I tried to teach them the cha-cha. Bill French was a snap; he was really good at it — very elegant. Doug Marshall could kind of do it. Robert Fulford couldn’t do it at all. I said, ‘Just do your thing.’
Gibson: Shuffle, shuffle.
Atwood: ‘People will think you’re doing it on purpose, and you’ll be a big hit.’ ‘No, they won’t!’ ‘Yes, they will!’  So they did it, and French and Douglas Marshall wore trench coats, fedoras, black shirts and white ties, and Fulford, who was in the middle, was the Godfulford and wore a homburg. So when the time for the cha-cha came, the others went 1, 2, cha-cha-cha, 1, 2, cha-cha-cha, and Fulford went  … [she mimes]
Moore:  He leaned from side to side. 
Atwood: … and it was as I said: people just loved it. So that was my moment as a dancer.  [Laughter]
Moore: One of the things I wanted to ask you about was Margaret Laurence becoming the first titular chair, which was entirely appropriate because she was the most prominent Canadian novelist at the time. Was it maybe kind of a political, strategic thing you did too? How did that come about?
Gibson: We knew we could never get her to be the real chair for the full season, and I think probably what we felt was that she was sort of the granny figure and was sentimental and was well known. And it was perfect! I’m not sure how much she did other than be there.
Atwood: She lent her name. She was very, very nervous speaking in public. She had to sit down, she shook so much.
Gibson: Yeah, she would just shake.
Atwood: She did a bit of that, but just that much. Marian Engel was very tough, very, very smart.
Gibson: And we were doing a lot of the work in her house and on her back stoop, and so forth. Again, it seemed appropriate.
Atwood: She was very good strategically and very thoughtful about positions.
Gibson: And very stubborn. She did a lot of wonderful work with the librarians and so forth.
Atwood: Public lending right. That was a big battle.
 Gibson: Andy [Schroeder] gave much of his life to that.
Atwood: He just became a total expert on it and a very good spokesperson. So out of these various core groups emerged a lot of people who were experts in their own field.
Gibson: Or became experts.
Atwood: That’s what I mean.
Moore [to Atwood]:  There’s a group of strong women at the Union. There’s Margaret Laurence, Marian Engel, Margaret Atwood, Sylvia Fraser. Hugh Garner[17] must have been completely out in left field. What was the ferment like there between the macho men and the strong women?
Atwood: I don’t think there was any difficulty over that. Hugh Garner was over there somewhere, from another age really.
Gibson: I’m not sure he ever joined, did he?
Atwood: No, I don’t think so.  There was some difficulty later with women who felt they weren’t being properly represented. But that was later.
Gibson: And in a different context too.
Atwood: The fact is, during that time of gender ferment and nationalism ferment and writer ferment, writer trumped gender. If you’re thinking of it as a card game, what you had in common as writers was the ace and the gender problems were maybe the jack or the 10 — a little bit further down the line. The writer thing was the Canadian thing, and then the gender thing. People were willing to overcome the gender thing in order to work on the Canadian thing and the writer thing, because those were the problems we had as writers. Women writers had their own problems as writers, but quite frankly in my years of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s dealing with publishers, who were male at that time, I never encountered any of that kind of thing.
Gibson: I think Marian had the same experience.
Atwood: Our colleagues — for instance Dennis, wanting me to be on the board of Anansi, didn’t want: ‘Be on the board as a token woman,’ but ‘You will be on the board as a writer.’ So it was a lot more like that. The women’s movement began in New York — second wave — about 1968 when I was in Edmonton; there wasn’t any of it there at that time. And it really didn’t get going in Canada until about the mid-‘70s. But before that time and in the early ‘60s in the world of poets, there weren’t many women and there was sexism among some of the male poets. I did not encounter it amongst the male prose writers.
Gibson: I don’t think for example that Margaret as the interim chair — the first two were women…
Atwood: It wasn’t because they were women.
Gibson: It was because of their role. I don’t think it would have occurred to anyone that one was making a gender decision, a “clever” gender decision.
Atwood: No, not at all; not then.
Gibson: Because things were set. The Union was working, then one could pursue what needed to be pursued, which it did.
Atwood: I’m sure there was a lot of it behind the scenes, and there was a certain amount of it amongst book reps. You’d hear stories about men chasing them around the hotel room, but amongst the writers themselves, nobody said, ‘Well, little lady, what are you doing in this organization?’ Nobody said that.
Moore [to Atwood, who is about to leave]: Thanks so much for your time.  I’ll carry on with Graeme.
Moore: The idea that the Union was about politics, that it wasn’t going to make you a better writer — that was really engrained; people understood that from the beginning.
Gibson:  Absolutely. That’s one of the things that Metcalf had trouble with. We didn’t care whether the writer was any good. And this is where I had real resistance, up until the end of our meeting this year,[18] real concern, about self-published writers. When we started out, there were all these things about camaraderie and of dealing with publishers.
But the other thing that we spoke about and assumed to be essential is that money was coming from government to writers and to publishers, and we felt that there should be an eye on that, collectively. And so the Union from the very beginning introduced itself to the Canada Council, to the Ontario Arts Council, and they responded to us as professionals. We haven’t always won what we’d like to win, but indeed we’ve had an eye on the whole thing. As with Andy [Schroeder], with the public lending right, there was a role, keeping an eye on that.
What we really were concerned about in the one fundamental area was -- how best to say? -- managing the professionalism. Managing how writers were being treated by publishers, by government, and establishing a sense of authority for the profession. A bad book published and coming out deserved our attention, that it was being taking care of. It was a book, somebody had made that decision …
Moore: Even bad writers deserved decent contracts.
Gibson:  They are still trying to make a living. All that kind of stuff. So there was a real preoccupation with professionalism of it. I think that’s one of the reasons why we had almost no trouble at all, because, one, you have the tribe coming together and all that nice warm fuzzy stuff, and on the other side, professionalism. And the combination was pretty devastatingly effective. We somehow managed collectively to bring it together exceedingly well. And that’s why 40 years later I was really impressed with the debate on self-publishing.
Moore: Let’s go back to the mechanics. You engaged Alma Lee and with a little bit of funding from the Ontario Arts Council to bring this together. I think Alma Lee told me she worked out of her house for a while and then there was a little office just off Bloor Street somewhere.
Gibson: That’s right. She has a better sense of where the money came from, but I know that when we did the resource guides, the teachers’ unions helped out. There’s a list of who supported.  Canada Council certainly helped and there was … I’m not very good at money, but what I basically did was thrash about. I can raise money. We got enough somehow.
Moore: Andreas was constantly amazed at how Alma Lee … He could look at the financial statement and say, ‘We’re broke. We can’t pay the rent.’ And she would say, “I’ll arrange something.’
Gibson: We were blessed with her. It’s hugely representative of that time.
Moore: The political ferment, the Canadian national movement …
Gibson: Absolutely. We were very, very nationalistic; we were very close to being anti-American. We weren’t against Americans who were in the Union, but held sentiments like ‘these bastards were taking away our country from us’ and all this … It was a very energetic time.

[1] Interviewed in person at their home in Toronto, June 12, 2013, by Christopher Moore. Gibson was present through, Atwood intermittently. 
[2] The Ryerson Press was founded by the Methodist Church of Canada in 1919 and sold by the United Church of Canada to the American publisher McGraw-Hill in 1970.
[3] Royal Commission on Book Publishing, 1970-1973.
[4] Dalton Camp (1920-2002 ), executive, author, and Conservative political organizer.
[5] Rohmer (b.1924)’s military rank is in the reserves; he was also a prominent corporate lawyer and Conservative party activist as well as a prolific writer of political thrillers.
[6] To Know Ourselves (1975)
[7] Max Braithwaite (1919-1995), western Canadian writer, author of Why Shoot the Teacher and other works.
[8] Among those present at the presentation to the royal commission presentation were Gibson, Atwood, June Callwood, Gwendolyn MacEwan, David Lewis Stein, Ian Adams, Max Braithwaite, Fred Bodsworth.
[9] William French, literary critic for the Globe and Mail
[10] Milton Acorn (1923-86), poet, honoured by admirers as the ‘People’s Poet,” after not winning the Governor-General’ Award
[11] Long-running literary program on CBC Radio.
[12] Morley Callaghan (1903-90), novelist.
[13] Hugh Hood (1928-2000), novelist, essayist, founder of Montreal Story Tellers.
[14] Robertson Davies (1913-95), novelist, critic, playwright, professor.
[15] An American cultural sensation of 1969, a deliberately badly written erotic novel by a team of writers.
[16] Hélène Holden, Montreal writer, co-founder  in 1974 of the Double Hook bookshop, TWUC executive council member.
[17] Hugh Garner (1913-79), novelist, author of Cabbagetown and other works.
[18] Just before this conversation, the 2013 Annual General Meeting of the union had voted unanimously, after long discussion, to set new criteria by which self-published writers could become  union members. In 1973 and after, writers who paid to be published were seen as a threat to the rights-oriented projects of the union.

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