Last December, Douglas Gibson, Alice Munro’s editor and publisher, was in Norway observing the presentation of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Alice Munro, the first Canadian to receive the award.
On Thursday, March 6 at 7:30 pm in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Gibson will tell stories about the experience of editing Alice Munro and numerous other famous Canadian authors, including Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, Mavis Gallant, Hugh MacLennan, Barry Broadfoot, W.O. Mitchell, and Robertson Davies. He will also showcase and sign copies of his book about these experiences, Stories About Storytellers.
Gibson calls his talk a “road show,” complete with slides and music. One reviewer wrote, “it’s an event worthy of Stephen Leacock. Charles Dickens, even.” Another wrote, “Gibson is a living link to the foundation of our country’s literature, and also an impish and charming performer. His lifelong passion for these great writers is contagious.”
He was born in the village of Dunlop in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, and worked on farms during the summer. After university at St. Andrews, where, he writes, he “did everything but study,” he earned a Rhodes-like graduate scholarship to Yale. Immigrating to Canada in 1967, he became Managing Editor at Doubleday Canada in 1969, and MacMillan’s publisher in 1979, where he also introduced authors like Ken Dryden and Christina MacCall.
In 1986, Gibson was lured to the great Canadian publishing company McClelland and Stewart (M&S) to start the first editorial imprint in Canada, Douglas Gibson Books. He became president and publisher of M&S in 2000, from which he retired in 2008. He still shepherds authors through the publishing system with his imprint.
“No one has done more for Canadian Literature than this man,” writes Alistair MacLeod. Alice Munro says of Stories about Storytellers, “Here is my prize read for those interested in writers, books, Canada, life, and all that kind of thing.”
Gibson’s show is co-hosted by the UPEI English Department and the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, with funding from The Canada Council for the Arts. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.
Dr. Richard Lemm
Professor, Department of English
University of Prince Edward Island
(902) 566-0389, email@example.com