Jack McClelland


"Jack McClelland was a pioneer in Canadian publishing. In the late fifties and the sixties - at a time when many Canadians did not believe they had a literature, or if they did have one, it wasn't very good or interesting - he swung onto the scene like a swashbuckling pirate. He took chances on authors, published them with fanfare, and promoted them in daring and original ways, and he remained loyal to them..."
Margaret Atwood

Key Porter CAN/98


The Selected Letters of Jack McClelland

Edited by Sam Solecki

This book may be difficult to locate, but if you are interested in the creative collaboration of writers and publishers, you will find this collection enthralling.

Jack McClelland, home from WWII, started working at his father¹s firm, McClelland & Stewart, in 1946. In the next 40 years, he befriended, nurtured and published a galaxy of extraordinarily talented and brilliant Canadian writers. He was one of the world¹s great publishers, ranked with Alfred Knopf, Roger Straus, and Victor Gollancz.

From an archive of thousands of letters, Sam Solecki has culled selections from his correspondence with Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler, Michael Ondaatje, Robertson Davies, Brian Moore, Farley Mowat, and many others.

The letters bear witness to McClelland's friendships, his devotion to the authors he published, his sense of humour, and his sense of what makes for good publishing.

It is not true that all good books get published. It is true that good books are not written if there is no publisher to expose them and no audience to
engage with them. To follow McClelland's career is a study in the growth of a literary culture.