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National Post

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'I don’t love women writers enough to teach them': Giller-nominated author and University of Toronto teacher on why he only teaches books by men
David Gilmour has never been afraid to speak his mind. In a 2011 interview with the National Post, he admitted wanting to “beat the living s–t” out of a critic who’d given him a bad review and spoke at length about how much he hated socializing with fellow Canadian authors, whom he labelled “insecure.” His words have finally come back to haunt him. On Wednesday, Hazlitt, an online magazine published by Random House of Canada, posted a story by Emily M. Keeler — who, full disclosure, writes reviews for the Post — about the 63-year-old Gilmour, who spent over a decade working for the CBC as a film critic and arts reporter. In the article, about his bookshelves, Gilmour said, among other things, that “I’m not interested in teaching books by women” and “I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys.” Gilmour, whose latest novel, Extraordinary, was recently longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, tried to explain himself to Books Editor Mark Medley. (Photo: Della Rollins for National Post)

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'I don’t love women writers enough to teach them': Giller-nominated author and University of Toronto teacher on why he only teaches books by men

David Gilmour has never been afraid to speak his mind. In a 2011 interview with the National Post, he admitted wanting to “beat the living s–t” out of a critic who’d given him a bad review and spoke at length about how much he hated socializing with fellow Canadian authors, whom he labelled “insecure.” His words have finally come back to haunt him. On Wednesday, Hazlitt, an online magazine published by Random House of Canada, posted a story by Emily M. Keeler — who, full disclosure, writes reviews for the Post — about the 63-year-old Gilmour, who spent over a decade working for the CBC as a film critic and arts reporter. In the article, about his bookshelves, Gilmour said, among other things, that “I’m not interested in teaching books by women” and “I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys.” Gilmour, whose latest novel, Extraordinary, was recently longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, tried to explain himself to Books Editor Mark Medley. (Photo: Della Rollins for National Post)

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Live Chat: How do you self-publish a novel? Ask the experts!Everything you’ve always wanted to know about self-publishing, but had no idea who to ask.

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Live Chat: How do you self-publish a novel? Ask the experts!
Everything you’ve always wanted to know about self-publishing, but had no idea who to ask.

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What can’t be published: A month-long effort to document a sexual assault led to a detailed, engaging piece too difficult to read Currently, Toronto women are living in fear. There are perpetrators of sexual assaults prowling multiple neighbourhoods. As the number of victims increase, I feel the familiar pulse of fear growing in the people around me, a frenzied hysteria disturbingly similar to that of that era I deeply researched while secluded in my cabin in the woods. And just like the newspaper reports of the ’80s and ’90s that surrounded the Scarborough Rapist, there is a slew of misguided commentary on how women can prevent themselves from being “easy targets.” Women are consistently asked to be “aware,” as if they aren’t already aware every hour of every day.Words are being used to dictate what women wear, how much they drink, what hours of the night they are allowed to travel in. It is more than 20 years since Paul Bernardo’s gruesome Scarborough attacks, and the conversation still hinges on what women should do to protect themselves. It has become tedium, this multiple-decade standard hum of complete disregard for a woman’s reality. When police “encourage women to be vigilant,” they fail to recognize that women are already living in a constant state of vigilance that is no way to live, under the ceaseless threat of violation, by a stranger or by someone they know. All these years and words and we have failed to learn that no amount of prescribed costume changing or behavioural policing will ever change that.(Illustration: Steve Murray/National Post)

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What can’t be published: A month-long effort to document a sexual assault led to a detailed, engaging piece too difficult to read
Currently, Toronto women are living in fear. There are perpetrators of sexual assaults prowling multiple neighbourhoods. As the number of victims increase, I feel the familiar pulse of fear growing in the people around me, a frenzied hysteria disturbingly similar to that of that era I deeply researched while secluded in my cabin in the woods. And just like the newspaper reports of the ’80s and ’90s that surrounded the Scarborough Rapist, there is a slew of misguided commentary on how women can prevent themselves from being “easy targets.” Women are consistently asked to be “aware,” as if they aren’t already aware every hour of every day.

Words are being used to dictate what women wear, how much they drink, what hours of the night they are allowed to travel in. It is more than 20 years since Paul Bernardo’s gruesome Scarborough attacks, and the conversation still hinges on what women should do to protect themselves. It has become tedium, this multiple-decade standard hum of complete disregard for a woman’s reality. When police “encourage women to be vigilant,” they fail to recognize that women are already living in a constant state of vigilance that is no way to live, under the ceaseless threat of violation, by a stranger or by someone they know. All these years and words and we have failed to learn that no amount of prescribed costume changing or behavioural policing will ever change that.
(Illustration: Steve Murray/National Post)

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SmithMag asks writers to share their magic moments
Everyone has that one “moment” — whether it’s a bad one, a good one, a strange one or what feels like an insignificant one, it’s that one slice of time where anything and everything seems possible.

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SmithMag asks writers to share their magic moments

Everyone has that one “moment” — whether it’s a bad one, a good one, a strange one or what feels like an insignificant one, it’s that one slice of time where anything and everything seems possible.

David Frum on Christopher Hitchens: A man of moral clarityChristopher Hitchens did not offer a model of what to think. He offered a model of how to think – and how to live. Fully. Fearlessly. Joyously. And then, alas too soon, of how to die: without bluster but without flinching, boldly writing until the fingers moved no more. (Photo: John Mahoney/Postmedia News)

David Frum on Christopher Hitchens: A man of moral clarity
Christopher Hitchens did not offer a model of what to think. He offered a model of how to think – and how to live. Fully. Fearlessly. Joyously. And then, alas too soon, of how to die: without bluster but without flinching, boldly writing until the fingers moved no more. (Photo: John Mahoney/Postmedia News)

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Live Chat: Margaret Atwood discusses In Other WorldsJoin us at noon on Monday, November 28 for a one-hour live chat with  Margaret Atwood. The celebrated Canadian author will discuss her latest  collection of essays, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (Signal Books) and answer reader questions.
Writing in the National Post, Zsuzsi Gartner called the book  “a kind of encyclopedia: a quirky and admittedly personal primer on  ‘imaginative writing.’” Read Gartner’s review of the book here.
Click here to read more about the book.
And click here for details on how to win the complete Signal Books library and a chance to see Atwood live in Toronto. (Illustration by Steve Murray)

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Live Chat: Margaret Atwood discusses In Other Worlds
Join us at noon on Monday, November 28 for a one-hour live chat with Margaret Atwood. The celebrated Canadian author will discuss her latest collection of essays, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (Signal Books) and answer reader questions.

Writing in the National Post, Zsuzsi Gartner called the book “a kind of encyclopedia: a quirky and admittedly personal primer on ‘imaginative writing.’” Read Gartner’s review of the book here.

Click here to read more about the book.

And click here for details on how to win the complete Signal Books library and a chance to see Atwood live in Toronto. (Illustration by Steve Murray)

Photos: War letters
Brothers, Stephen and Frederic Vickers from St. Catharines were prolific letter writers during their World War two service. While Stephen an instructor stayed in Canada, stationed in Barriefield near Kingston, Ontario, Fredrick, described as a troop leader with the 15th Field Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery was stationed in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany at the end of the war. They both attended McMaster University in Hamilton where their letters are now archived. (Photos by Glenn Lowson for National Post)

Margaret Atwood: How a love of comics started a love of reading I learned to read early so I could read the comic strips because nobody else would take the time to read them out loud to me. The newspaper comics pages were called, then, the funny papers, although a lot of the strips were not funny but highly dramatic, like Terry and the Pirates, which featured a femme fatale called “The Dragon Lady” who used an amazingly long cigarette holder, or oddly surreal, like Little Orphan Annie — where were her eyes? The funny papers raised many questions in my young mind, some of which remain unanswered to this day. What exactly happened when Mandrake the Magician “gestured hypnotically”? Why did the Princess Snowflower character go around with a cauliflower on either ear?Where did we kids discover the knowledge of flying capes, superpowers, other planets, and the like? In part, through the primitive comic-strip superheroes of the times, the most popular of which were Flash Gordon, for space travel and robots; Superman and Captain Marvel, for extra strength, superpowers, and cape-based flying; and Batman, who was a mortal, with a non-functional cape — one that must have encumbered him somewhat as he clawed his way up the sides of buildings — but who nonetheless shared with Captain Marvel and Superman a weak or fatuous second identity that acted as a disguise. (Captain Marvel was Billy Batson, the crippled newsboy; Superman was Clark Kent, the bespectacled reporter; Batman was Bruce Wayne, the very rich playboy who lounged around in a smoking jacket.)Excerpt from In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination Copyright © 2011 by O.W. Toad Ltd. Published by Signal, imprint of McClelland & Stewart Ltd. (Photo: (Tyler Anderson/National Post)Related:Margaret Atwood: The stories we tellBook Review: In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood: How a love of comics started a love of reading
I learned to read early so I could read the comic strips because nobody else would take the time to read them out loud to me. The newspaper comics pages were called, then, the funny papers, although a lot of the strips were not funny but highly dramatic, like Terry and the Pirates, which featured a femme fatale called “The Dragon Lady” who used an amazingly long cigarette holder, or oddly surreal, like Little Orphan Annie — where were her eyes? The funny papers raised many questions in my young mind, some of which remain unanswered to this day. What exactly happened when Mandrake the Magician “gestured hypnotically”? Why did the Princess Snowflower character go around with a cauliflower on either ear?

Where did we kids discover the knowledge of flying capes, superpowers, other planets, and the like? In part, through the primitive comic-strip superheroes of the times, the most popular of which were Flash Gordon, for space travel and robots; Superman and Captain Marvel, for extra strength, superpowers, and cape-based flying; and Batman, who was a mortal, with a non-functional cape — one that must have encumbered him somewhat as he clawed his way up the sides of buildings — but who nonetheless shared with Captain Marvel and Superman a weak or fatuous second identity that acted as a disguise. (Captain Marvel was Billy Batson, the crippled newsboy; Superman was Clark Kent, the bespectacled reporter; Batman was Bruce Wayne, the very rich playboy who lounged around in a smoking jacket.)

Excerpt from In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination Copyright © 2011 by O.W. Toad Ltd. Published by Signal, imprint of McClelland & Stewart Ltd. (Photo: (Tyler Anderson/National Post)

Related:
Margaret Atwood: The stories we tell
Book Review: In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination, by Margaret Atwood