McClelland & Stewart and Authors Remember Alistair MacLeod

TORONTO, April 21, 2014 /CNW/ - It was announced yesterday that Alistair MacLeod, internationally acclaimed and award-winning Canadian writer, passed away. 

"Alistair MacLeod was a truly great writer, and human being.  He was also a gifted and revered teacher of English Literature.  His magnificently crafted stories and his only novel contain a compassion and beauty of language, and a deep wisdom and universal truth that are rare.  His passing is a tremendous loss to Canada and to literature, but his work will endure.  Speaking on behalf of McClelland and Stewart and Random House of Canada, our hearts and thoughts are very much with his wife and family on this very sad day," said Ellen Seligman, Publisher, McClelland and Stewart, and Vice President of Random House of Canada.

Guy Vanderhaeghe commented, "Alistair MacLeod was one of this country's finest, most splendid writers, but he may have been an ever finer, more splendid, wise and gentle man. There was a very real goodness and integrity about Alistair that is as uncommon and unique as his vision of what literature should be and ought to do."

From Margaret Atwood: "Very sorry to hear about Alistair MacLeod, a wonderful writer and a fine person. It's a great loss for Canadians, and for Alistair's many readers and many friends." 

Jane Urquhart said, "There was a deepness of caring in Alistair MacLeod; in his life, and in his work, and a profound sense of emotional truth. His writing moved from his heart to the page, and will always leap back from the page and into the heart of the reader. His words are comforting in the face of loss because he explored sorrow with both tenderness and brutality. We'll all need to read him now."

Alistair MacLeod was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in 1936 and raised among an extended family in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He spent his summers in Inverness County, writing in a clifftop cabin looking west towards Prince Edward Island. In his early years, to finance his education he worked as a logger, a miner, and a fisherman, and wrote vividly and sympathetically about such work.

His early studies were at the Nova Scotia Teachers College, St. Francis Xavier, the University of New Brunswick and Notre Dame, where he took his Ph.D.  MacLeod was a respected academic who inspired generations of students and writers.  He taught creative writing at the University of Indiana, the Banff Centre and since 1969 was a much beloved professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor where he taught for more than three decades.

Alistair MacLeod published two internationally acclaimed collections of short stories: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun (1986). In 2000, these two books, accompanied by two new stories, were published in a single-volume edition entitled Island: The Collected Stories of Alistair MacLeod. In 1999, MacLeod's novel, No Great Mischief, was published to great critical acclaim in Canada and internationally.  The novel won numerous awards in Canada and abroad including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, The Trillium Award, and the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award.

SOURCE: McClelland and Stewart

For further information: Trish Kells, (604)538-6536 /; or Ashley Dunn, (647)788-3976 /

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