Canadian author and University of Toronto professor David Gilmour created quite a stir this week with comments he made to Random House blog Shelf Esteem. Gilmour stated that he does not teach works by women or Chinese authors.
In his words, he stated: “I’m not interested in teaching books by women. When I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women.” He did say he teaches one short story by Virginia Woolf.
So what authors does he love? He loves men. In his words: “Serious heterosexual guys…Real guy-guys.” According to Gilmore, men like Henry Miller, Philip Roth, and Leo Tolstoy.
In a strange twist, Gilmour’s been longlisted for the Giller prize, Canada’s largest literary award, for his novel “Extraordinary,” about a brother reminiscing with his half-sister about their lives as he makes preparations for her assisted death. It’s very ironic that a man who has made such bold statements supporting lack of diversity in his authors, could be considered for such an award. Time will tell what message Canada’s literary community is willing to send.