Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Profile of Jack MacLeod

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For a very serious Professor in Political Science, Jack MacLeod is a very funny man. We readers are lucky that Jack put in the ten hard years of writing it took to complete his novel Uproar. The parts that are fiction are very, very funny. And the parts that are fiction built up around the skeleton of fact are fascinating: a window on the real- life, almost-gone days of the smoke-drenched tweedy Toronto writers/academics of P.O.E.T.S. (read the book to see what that stands for!) meeting at Dooley's for martinis or beers and to bat around matters of importance or ideological flirtation. His characters' discussion of Marshall McLuhan's ideas shimmer, especially when it is pointed out that the best source for an accessible McLuhan primer was to be found in an interview contained in an issue of Playboy 1969!

Jack MacLeod (aka McLeod) was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1932. He earned a BA and MA in Economics from the University of Saskatchewan before taking a PhD in Political Science at the University of Toronto where he taught from 1959-1996.

An experience in Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 led him to begin writing political journalism, some of which appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Saturday Night, Books in Canada, Canadian Forum and the Journal of Canadian Studies as well as on the CBC. MacLeod published several academic works with the U of T Press, Oxford University Press and McClelland and Stewart and two political science text books. His two previous novels, Zinger and Me and Going Grand were on bestseller lists. Jack MacLeod is currently professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

Jack MacLeod's first two novels, Zinger and Me and Going Grand, both published by McClelland & Stewart in the late 1970s / early 1980s, established him as that rare thing, a writer who could be funny while also dealing with ideas and social issues. Uproar, his long-awaited new novel, is the story of a marriage in free fall, a career on the skids and the era we have just passed through. Included among the zany list of characters is Zinger (Francis Z. Springer), the remarkable creation who made an appearance in MacLeod's two earlier publications. Don Harron has called Zinger "one of the most memorable character's in Canadian literature ...."

Jack MacLeod's Novels
Uproar, 2008 (The Porcupine's Quill)
Going Grand, 1982 (McClelland & Stewart)
Zinger and Me, 1979 (McClelland & Stewart)

Reviews of Uproar:

"Novel Pleasures," Literary Review of Canada, December, 2008
Reviewed by Bronwyn Drainie
"MacLeod colours the characters and landscape of Uproar with a contemporary Canadian sensibility. He infuses a universal tale of loss and healing with
the familiarity of physical and intellectual locales from Toronto's lively neighbourhoods and, with an evocation of Saskatchewan newspapers, manages along the way to delineate Canadian communications theory from Innes to McLuhan. Ultimately, Uproar is a story about the possibility for reconstruction and joy amidst chaos and wreckage."

"A Close Study of Toronto's Navel," The National Post, Saturday, December 20, 2008
Reviewed by Philip Marchand

Owen Sound Sun Times
"Uproar is populated by a grand bunch of eccentric professors like Professor
Emeritus Gandy with his Donegal tweed that looks like it had not been pressed in a decade. There¹s a whole bunch of fun and games in university land that make this novel even more of a delight, a hugely satisfying friendly book to read and a perfect foil for what ails you, economically and otherwise."

Michelle Walker has been a fervent fan of Can-Lit since witnessing a fistfight over poetry between Joe Rosenblatt and Al Purdy onstage in her small-town Ontario high school in the 1970s. After many years in private press publishing (Biting Dog Press) with her husband, wood-engraver George A. Walker, Michelle now serves as part-time publicist for Can-Lit heavy hitters Tim and Elke Inkster of The Porcupine's Quill.

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