[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Douglas Gibson’s new book Stories About Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others, running every Friday. The following is from the chapter on novelist, short story writer and Torontonian Morley Callaghan.]
On this occasion Morley phoned me at the office in a fever of excitement. He’d just finished a novella, and he was pleased with it, and could I come by his house in Rosedale and read it? Well, I argued strongly against such a visit, using words like “unprofessional.” But this was Morley Callaghan, now a widower, and around the age of eighty, and not only a legendary figure but my friend, and very insistent. So I gave in, and went that evening to the big house that I knew well.
[Editor’s note: This is the first of eight excerpts from Douglas Gibson’s new book Stories About Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others. They will run every Friday for the next eight weeks. The following is an excerpt from a chapter on Alice Munro.]
When people ask me what Alice Munro is really like, I try to deal with the two halves of the complete Alice. One is the frowning, concerned good citizen, determined to do The Right Thing, and worrying her way towards it. That’s the Alice who some years ago quietly put me under pressure to make sure that her next book was printed on recycled environmentally friendly (and more expensive) paper. And this, I should note, was at a time when using recycled paper in books was still rare, and associated with new fringe books by small publishers, not major bestsellers by major writers published by major houses. So her choice had a huge impact.