Graeme Gibson
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Graeme Gibson

Graeme Gibson

BornThomas Graeme Cameron Gibson
(1934-08-09)9 August 1934
London, Ontario, Canada
Died18 September 2019(2019-09-18) (aged 85)
London, England
OccupationNovelist
LanguageEnglish
NationalityCanadian
Alma materUniversity of Western Ontario
Genres
Notable worksPerpetual Motion (1982)
SpouseShirley Gibson (div. c. 1973)
PartnerMargaret Atwood (1973-2019; his death)

Thomas Graeme Cameron Gibson (9 August 1934 - 18 September 2019) was a Canadian novelist.[1] He was a Member of the Order of Canada (1992), a Senior Fellow of Massey College and one of the organizers of the Writers Union of Canada (chair, 1974-75). He was also a founder of the Writers' Trust of Canada, a non-profit literary organization that seeks to encourage Canada's writing community.[1]

Career

Gibson's family frequently moved around during his childhood, going from Halifax to Ottawa to Toronto where he attended Upper Canada College.[2] As an author, Gibson wrote both novels and non-fiction. His first novel, Five Legs (1969), is widely regarded as a breakthrough in Canadian experimental literature.[3] His other novels include Communion (1971), Gentleman Death (1993), and Perpetual Motion (1982).[1] His non-fiction included Eleven Canadian Novelists (1973) and more recently, The Bedside Book of Birds (2005) and The Bedside Book of Beasts (2009).[1]

Gibson was awarded the Toronto Arts Award (1990) the Harbourfront Festival prize in 1993, and he was made a member of the Order of Canada.[1]

An arts, environmental and social justice advocate, Gibson was one of the founders of the Writers' Union of Canada, which recognized his contribution by establishing an award in his honour in 1991.[4] He was involved in the formation of the Writer's Trust of Canada and was a co-founder and president (1987-89) of PEN Canada.[5][6]

His environmental advocacy was largely focused around his longtime love of birds. He was a founder and chair of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, served on the Council of the World Wildlife Fund, and with Margaret Atwood, as co-chair of Birdlife International's Rare Bird Club. He was a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, which awarded him a Gold Medal in 2015.[7]

Personal life

Gibson was married to publisher Shirley Gibson until the early 1970s, and together they had two sons, Matt and Grae.[8][9] He later began dating novelist and poet Margaret Atwood in 1973.[1] They moved to a semi-derelict farm near Alliston, Ontario, which they set about doing up and where according to Atwood they were making "attempts at farming, writing and trying to earn enough to live".[10] Their daughter Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson was born there in 1976. The family returned to Toronto in 1980.[11] Atwood and Gibson stayed together until his death in 2019.

In 2017 Gibson was diagnosed with early signs of vascular dementia.[12][10] He died on 18 September 2019 in London, England, where Atwood was promoting her new book, five days after having a big stroke.[13][14] Atwood later said about his death that it had not been unexpected due to the vascular dementia, had been a good one--and in a good hospital, and his children had time to come and say goodbye--and that he had been "declining and he had wanted to check out before he reached any further stages of that".[10]

Bibliography

  • Five Legs (1969)
  • Communion (1971)
  • Eleven Canadian Novelists (1973)
  • Perpetual Motion (1982)
  • Gentleman Death (1993)
  • The Bedside Book of Birds (2005)
  • The Bedside Book of Beasts (2009)

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Graeme Gibson's entry in The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ "Author Graeme Gibson was a leader of Canada's literary scene". Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ "The Muse Acclimatized". Canadian Literature. 1969.
  4. ^ "Graeme Gibson Award". The Writers Union of Canada. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "Our Story". Writers' Trust of Canada. Retrieved 2019. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  6. ^ "In Memoriam Graeme Gibson". PEN Canada. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Remembering Author and Environmentalist Graeme Gibson". Canadian Geographic Society. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ Potts, Robert (26 April 2003). "Light in the wilderness". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "The elusive Margaret Atwood | Quill and Quire". Quill and Quire. 28 April 2004. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Miranda Sawyer (12 September 2020). "Margaret Atwood: 'If you're going to speak truth to power, make sure it's the truth'". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Sutherland, John (2012). Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives. Yale University Press. p. 721. ISBN 978-0-300-18243-9.
  12. ^ "Margaret Atwood, the Prophet of Dystopia". The New Yorker. 18 September 2019.
  13. ^ Penguin Random House [@penguinrandom] (18 September 2019). "Doubleday today shares the sad news that celebrated Canadian author Graeme Gibson has died" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "Canadian author Graeme Gibson dead at 85". CP24. 18 September 2019.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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