Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Kim McArthur responds to André Alexis

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Kim McArthur responds to André Alexis

In the July/August issue of one of our favourite magazines, The Walrus, André Alexis writes about The Long Decline of Canadian critical culture (read: book reviews).

As some of you may already know, there has been a flurry of responses to this essay, including here, here and oh, here's a good round-up here.

A new response is now in, from Kim McArthur, President and Publisher of McArthur & Company, whose extensive roster of authors includes Barry Callaghan:


Andre Alexis, a serious writer, has taken up in the most recent issue of Walrus magazine the serious question of book reviewing and literary criticism in this country.

He writes knowingly about the '80s and the current situation (although to concentrate so much influence on John Metcalf seems a bit bizarre), but to survey our history of critical writing and to not point out that Barry Callaghan set a standard in the years 1966-1971 at the Toronto Telegram for book page editing and critical writing that has not been met since is to overlook what anyone who knows anything knows to be true.

For evidence, consult Callaghan’s collections Raise You Five and Raise You Ten (and Raise You Twenty to come in spring 2011), bearing in mind that The Globe and Mail, so respected by Alexis, in its review of Raise You Five, said that Callaghan's writing in many ways outpaced Northrop Frye's (a critic duly honored by Alexis), all truths that Alexis should have, as an historian, brought to the attention of his readers.

It is my view as Barry Callaghan’s publisher that these matters of ignorance or intentional omission, have to be, if not attacked, then at least corrected.

Yours sincerely,

Kim McArthur
President & Publisher
McArthur & Company
322 King St. West, Suite 402
Toronto, ON
M5V 1J2

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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