|Born||Thomas Graeme Cameron Gibson|
9 August 1934
London, Ontario, Canada
|Died||18 September 2019 (aged 85)|
|Alma mater||University of Western Ontario|
|Notable works||Perpetual Motion (1982)|
|Spouse||Shirley Gibson (div. c. 1973)|
|Partner||Margaret Atwood (1973-2019; his death)|
Thomas Graeme Cameron Gibson (9 August 1934 - 18 September 2019) was a Canadian novelist. 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.
Gibson's family frequently moved around during his childhood, going from Halifax to Ottawa to Toronto where he attended Upper Canada College. 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. His other novels include Communion (1971), Gentleman Death (1993), and Perpetual Motion (1982). His non-fiction included Eleven Canadian Novelists (1973) and more recently, The Bedside Book of Birds (2005) and The Bedside Book of Beasts (2009).
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. 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.
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.
Gibson was married to publisher Shirley Gibson until the early 1970s, and together they had two sons, Matt and Grae. He later began dating novelist and poet Margaret Atwood in 1973. 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". Their daughter Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson was born there in 1976. The family returned to Toronto in 1980. Atwood and Gibson stayed together until his death in 2019.
In 2017 Gibson was diagnosed with early signs of vascular dementia. He died on 18 September 2019 in London, England, where Atwood was promoting her new book, five days after having a big stroke. 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".