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The finished bronze scultpure of this clay version of Northrop Frye will be unveiled on July 13 at the Moncton library. (Courtesy of the Frye Festival)

A bronze sculpture of literary icon Northrop Frye, set to be unveiled in Moncton next month, already has officials at the University of Toronto interested in getting a copy.

Dawn Arnold, the chairperson of the Northrop Frye Festival, who has been raising money for the sculpture, says she’s in negotiations with the university.

Frye, who grew up in Moncton, taught at Victoria College, which is part of the University of Toronto.

"They're developing a new quad and they are very interested in purchasing a copy of this structure for their quad," said Arnold.

"So wouldn't that be beautiful, poetic that two or three New Brunswick sculptors — their work will actually be going to Toronto."

The life-size statue, depicting Frye sitting on a park bench, reading a book, is being created by Darren Byers and Fred Harrison, in collaboration with Janet Fotheringham.

It is intended to mark the 100th anniversary of the literary giant’s birth and is expected to be set up in front of the Moncton Public Library on July 13.

Arnold says she's thrilled her idea of a sculpture honouring Frye is being picked up by others.

Finishing details

She and Byers were at the library on Monday, picking out the right spot for the statue, called Norrie.

"It's all in how he lines up with the building and fits in with it. Just esthetics," said Byers.

He and Harrison have spent some late nights at their Sussex-area workshop, getting the details of the sculpture just right.

They collected every possible photograph they could find of Frye, said Harrison.

"We plastered the studio with photos of him and we have a friend whose build pretty much matched his so we got him to sit on the bench and pose for us," he said.

Literary fans got a sneak peek of a clay version of the statute at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre in February, when the list of authors and literary critics who were attending the annual Frye Festival in April was announced.

Heritage Canada contributed $25,000 toward the sculpture. The festival, a registered non-profit corporation, hopes to raise an additional $10,000 by July 6.

Frye wrote more than 20 books, lectured at more than 100 universities around the world, received 30 honorary degrees, won the Governor General’s Award for Literature, was a Companion of the Order of Canada, had a postage stamp created in his image and in 2010 the Northrop Frye School in Moncton was named in his honour.

Frye wrote extensively on all kinds of subjects and was considered one of the greatest scholars and thinkers of the 20th century.