The Walrus Blog

Monthly Archive: December 2011

Where’s the Love?

Bemoaning the Canadian media’s lack of passion for Canadian artists like Jack Chambers
Self-Portrait No. 2©2011 Estate of Jack Chambers; estate represented by Loch GalleryJack Chambers, Self-Portrait No. 2 (1953)

“Do we have more than four people? This is Jack Chambers, for God’s sake!”

These are the words of a bewildered Art Gallery of Ontario foot soldier, uttered moments before the nearly media-less media preview for Jack Chambers: Light, Spirit, Time, Place, and Life, the gallery’s expansive tribute to Canada’s best-known artist outside the Group of Seven. I was surprised too — Chambers should not be a tough sell.

In the ’70s, Chambers became the highest-earning painter in Canadian history and the closest thing to a Continental master this country had ever seen. He also defied nature by fighting acute myeloblastic leukemia — a cancer that kills in about three months if untreated — for ten years. Chambers was a spiritual locomotive fuelled by love for his wife and two sons. He worked constantly to ensure their financial security. The artist churned out dozens of jewels in his London, Ontario studio, only to sell them immediately. In her essay “Unfinished Business” — about Chambers’ incomplete masterpiece, Lunch — from the January/February issue of The Walrus, Sara Angel writes that he was a man of immense passion. Until death, he “remained keen to stay a part of the world he had rendered.” So, had the media lost its mind?  (more…)

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Clark Blaise and the Writing Life

Episode four of a podcast series presented by our partners at Quill & Quire
Clark BlaiseClark Blaise, pictured with his wife, Bharati Mukherjee, in their California home

Quillcast is a podcast series from Quill & Quire featuring behind-the-scenes conversations with authors and publishing insiders. In this episode, recorded during Toronto’s International Festival of Authors in October, Catherine Bush interviews Clark Blaise about his career and the writing life.

Blaise recently released his first new short story collection in nearly two decades. Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, The Meagre Tarmac (Biblioasis) is a collection of linked stories exploring various characters from the South Asian diaspora. Bush is coordinator of the University of Guelph’s creative writing MFA program and the author of three novels, including Claire’s Head.

Listen to the episode here, or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


Quillcast is produced with media partners The Walrus, Open Book: Ontario, and Open Book: Toronto, with support from Toronto Life. This project has been generously supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund.

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Charlotte Gill and Eating Dirt

Episode three of a podcast series presented by our partners at Quill & Quire
Eating DirtyGreystone Books

Quillcast is a new podcast series from Quill & Quire featuring behind-the-scenes conversations with authors and publishing insiders. In this episode, the second in a two-part series on non-fiction authors, Vancouver writer Charlotte Gillspeaks about her experiences as a professional tree-planter, the subject of her memoir Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe (Greystone Books), one of Q&Q’s 2011 books of the year.

Eating Dirt was shortlisted for the inaugural Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for non-fiction, and was recently longlisted for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.

Listen to the episode here, or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. And click here to view a slideshow of Charlotte’s life as a tree planter.


Quillcast is produced with media partners The Walrus, Open Book: Ontario, and Open Book: Toronto, with support from Toronto Life. This project has been generously supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund.

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