Stories About Storytellers: Publishing Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau, and Others

Gibson, Douglas

  • Shortlisted for the Lela Common Award for Canadian History

    The legendary Canadian book editor presents this “remarkable, four-decade romp through the back rooms of publishing” (Toronto Sun) and is a “gossip of the first order, the kind who tells all, or at least enough” (The Walrus)

    Scottish-born Douglas Gibson was drawn to Canada by the writing of Stephen Leacock — and eventually made his way across the Atlantic to find a job in book publishing, where he edited a biography of none other than Leacock. But over the decades, his stellar career would lead him to work with many more of the country’s leading literary lights. This memoir shares stories of working — and playing — alongside writers such as Robertson Davies, Mavis Gallant, Brian Mulroney, Val Ross, and W. O. Mitchell. Gibson reveals the projects he brainstormed for Barry Broadfoot, how he convinced future Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro to keep writing short stories, his early-morning phone call from a former prime minister,  and his recollection of yanking a manuscript right out of Alistair MacLeod’s reluctant hands — which ultimately garnered the author one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for fiction.

    Insightful and entertaining, this collection of tales goes behind the scenes and between the covers to divulge a treasure trove of literary adventures.

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  • Douglas Gibson worked as an editor and publisher from 1968 until he retired from McClelland & Stewart in 2009. His Douglas Gibson Books was Canada’s first editorial imprint and lives on. He travels widely from his Toronto, ON, base.

  • Published: October 2011

    ISBN: 9781770410688

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 392

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“Gibson is a gossip of the first order, the kind who tells all, or at least enough, about his subjects’ foibles, but always in a way that delights in their eccentricities. He writes with charming exuberance.” — The Walrus

“This is a delightful book. I have fallen in love with it and keep dipping into it all the time.” — Guelph Mercury

Stories about Storytellers is a breezy, conversational account of Gibson’s work and relationships with some of the most significant figures in Canadian writing, from historical figures (Stephen Leacock, Hugh MacLennan) to global superstars (Alice Munro, Alistair MacLeod); from political figures (Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney) to involved observers (Peter C. Newman, Peter Gzowski); from the larger-than-life (James Houston, Bob Hunter) to the firmly rooted (Jack Hodgins, Mavis Gallant).” — Edmonton Journal

“Gibson is an engaging and on the whole a modest figure and a very fine raconteur. He, too, has had a hell of an interesting life. His book makes for good reading, and he makes his life in publishing sound like great fun.” — Globe and Mail

“Gibson’s delightful, behind-the-scenes look at some of Canada’s most prominent writers is a remarkable, four-decade romp through the back rooms of publishing.” — London Free Press

“What shines through most while reading Stories About Storytellers is Gibson’s optimism about books; that telling stories to one another is, as he puts it, 'a basic human need.'" — National Post