Born: London, Ontario
Resides: Toronto, Ontario
Trillium Book Award–nominated work: The Perfect Order of Things (2011)
Selected additional works: Back on Tuesday (1986), How Boys See Girls (1991), An Affair with the Moon (1993), Lost Between Houses (1999), Sparrow Nights (2001), A Perfect Night to Go to China (2005), The Film Club (2007)
Biography: After studying comparative literature under Northrop Frye at the University of Toronto, David Gilmour began his career in 1980 as managing editor of the Toronto International Film Festival (né the Festival of Festivals); he worked there for four years. A decade later, he began hosting his own program on CBC Newsworld, Gilmour on the Arts, which won a Gemini Award in 1997. That’s when he left broadcasting to write full time. In 2000, he received his first Trillium Book Award nomination for his best-selling Lost Between Houses. Later, he won two gold National Magazine Awards for his Walrus essay “My Life with Tolstoy.” In his memoir The Film Club, which was a best-seller in Germany, Brazil, and Canada, Gilmour documented his reasons (and conditions, including the weekly viewing of three films) for letting his fifteen-year-old son drop out of high school. He currently teaches literary studies at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College.
Joseph MacKinnon: Has the validation of this Trillium nomination changed your self-perception as a writer?
David Gilmour: No, not at all. If you set your standards by these things, you’ll be a wild-eyed, embittered alcoholic within a few short years.
Joseph MacKinnon: Your combined experience as a writer, teacher, and film critic has undoubtedly provided you with some insights into writing dos and don’ts. What patterns of behaviour or thinking would you caution would-be writers against? What writing rituals do you find personally enabling or helpful?
David Gilmour: I have only one word for writers: Persist. If you pressed me for more, I’d say never read reviews, even good ones, and rewrite, rewrite, and then rewrite some more.
Joseph MacKinnon: Is it important to pursue other interests and activities sidelong to your literary endeavours to keep your writing fresh? What are your preferred alternatives?
David Gilmour: I avoid the company of other writers. That’s a full-time job. (more…)