In memoriam: Literary figures who died in 2018

As the year draws to a close, we look back on the writers we lost in 2018.

As the year draws to a close, we look back on the writers we lost in 2018.

Harlan Ellison, 84

This March 13, 2012 photo provided by Steve Barber shows author Harlan Ellison in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. (Courtesy Steve Barber via AP)

During a career that spanned more than half a century, Harlan Ellison wrote some 50 books and more than 1,400 articles, essays, TV scripts and screenplays. Although best-known for his science fiction, which garnered nearly a dozen Nebula and Hugo awards, Ellison's work covered virtually every type of writing from mysteries to comic books to newspaper columns. Ellison's works include A Boy and His Dog, Blood's a Rover, Slippage and the short story I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream.

Ann Ireland, 65

Ann Ireland published five novels over her career. (Dundurn Press)

Canadian novelist Ann Ireland was the author of five novels, beginning with the book A Certain Mr. Takahashi, which won the 1985 Seal First Novel Award. She was later nominated for the 2002 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for the book Exile. Her most recent book, Where's Bob?, the story of a recently divorced woman's Mexican vacation with her estranged mother, was published in May of 2018. Ireland also taught writing at Ryerson University and was president of PEN Canada from 1998 to 1999.

Raymond Fraser, 77

Raymond Fraser, a Chatham-born author, died at the age of 77. (Raymond Fraser/Facebook)

Raymond Fraser published about two dozen works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. He received the Order of New Brunswick and the Lieutenant-Governor's Award for High Achievements in the Arts for his contributions to literature and culture in the province. Some of his more notable books include The Black Horse Tavern, The Fighting Fisherman and The Bannonbridge Musicians.

William Goldman, 87

In this March 28, 1977 file photo, William Goldman accepts his Oscar at Academy Awards in Los Angeles, for screenplay from other medium for All The President's Men. (AP Photo, File)

William Goldman was an award-winning screenwriter, winning Academy Awards for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men. He also wrote screenplays for his novels Marathon Man, Magic and the fairy tale classic The Princess Bride. Goldman also made political history by coining the phrase, "Follow the money" in his script for All the President's Men, adapted from the book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the Watergate political scandal. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin called Goldman "the dean of American screenwriters."

Jack Ketchum, 77

Jack Ketchum was once labelled by Stephen King as likely the scariest writer in America. (Georges Seguin (Okki)/Wikimedia Commons)

Jack Ketchum was a prize-winning horror and screenplay writer known for fiction such as The Box, The Girl Next Door and the controversial Off Season. His fervent fan base included writers like Nick Cutter, Chuck Pahlaniuk and Stephen King, who once called him the scariest writer in America. In 2011, he was named World Horror Convention Grand Master, an annual lifetime achievement award for horror writers.

Ursula K. Le Guin, 88

Ursula K. Le Guin was a prolific science fiction writer. She died on Jan. 22, 2018. (Marian Wood Kolisch/

Ursula K. Le Guin is an icon of science fiction and fantasy writing. She published more than 20 novels, a dozen poetry collections, seven essay collections and 13 children's books. Her first novel, Rocannon's World, was released in 1966. Two of her best known works followed shortly after: she published A Wizard of Earthsea in 1968 and The Left Hand of Darkness in 1969. Her Earthsea trilogy has sold millions of copies worldwide. Le Guin's many accolades included multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction, the Newbery Medal for children's literature, the PEN/Malamud Award for short fiction and the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Stan Lee, 95

Stan Lee was an American comic book writer, editor and publisher. (Getty Images)

Stan Lee was the co-creator of iconic comic book characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk and a cavalcade of other Marvel Comics superheroes that became mythic figures in pop culture with soaring success at the movie box office. As a writer and editor, Lee was key to the ascension of Marvel into a comic book titan in the 1960s when, in collaboration with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he created superheroes who would thrill generations of young readers. Lee was widely credited with adding a new layer of complexity and humanity to superheroes.

Peter Mayle, 78

Peter Mayle attends the Toronto International Film Festival premiere screening of The Good Year held at The Roy Thompson Hall on September 9, 2006 in Toronto, Canada. (Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, inspired by his midlife relocation to France, was a word-of-mouth success that sold millions of copies, was adapted into a miniseries by the BBC and was credited with opening up a market for such other expatriate stories as Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun. Mayle's other books included the children's stories Where Did I Come From? and What's Happening to Me? and the novel A Good Year, adapted by Ridley Scott into the 2006 film.

David McFadden, 78

David McFadden won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2013 for What's the Score? (Griffin Poetry Prize)

Canadian poet David McFadden was the author of more than 30 poetry collections, three works of fiction and several travel books. He won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2013 for What's the Score? and was a three-time finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry, nominated for The Art of Darkness, Gypsy Guitar and Be Calm, Honey.

V.S. Naipaul, 85

Trinidad-born U.K. author V.S. Naipaul was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1989. (Chris Ison/PA via AP)

V.S. Naipaul won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2001. He began writing in the 1950s, his first published novel being The Mystic Masseur in 1955, which was followed a series of critically acclaimed novels. His books include A House for Mr. Biswas, In a Free State and A Bend in the River.

Amos Oz, 75

Amos Oz, was one of Israel's most widely acclaimed writers and a pre-eminent voice in its embattled peace movement. Oz was known around the world for his dozens of novels, essays and prose about life in Israel, including a well-received memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness, the 2002 memoir, recounting his childhood in Jerusalem and the suicide of his mother when he was 12 years old. The book won him the Goethe Prize and other recognitions, and was adapted into a film starring Natalie Portman.

Nancy Richler, 60

Nancy Richler on the red carpet at the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize. (The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn)

Nancy Richler published her first novel, Throwaway Angels, in 1996 and was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel. Her follow-up, Your Mouth Is Lovely, won the 2003 Canadian Jewish Book Award for fiction. In 2012, she was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel The Imposter Bridewhich told the story of a woman searching for the mother who abandoned her. 

Philip Roth, 85

In this Sept. 8, 2008 file photo, author Philip Roth poses for a photo in the offices of his publisher Houghton Mifflin, in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)

Author of more than 25 books, Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, confronting readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward. His array of honours include two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle prizes and, in 1998, the Pulitzer for American Pastoral. Other acclaimed books include The Human Stain, Sabbath's Theater and Portney's Complaint.

Anita Shreve, 71

Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife and The Weight of Water, died on March 29, 2018. (Elena Siebert/Knopf/Associated Press)

Anita Shreve was a best-selling novelist who explored how women responded to crises in novels such as The Pilot's Wife, Testimony and The Weight of Water. Her literary honours included an O.Henry Prize for the story Past the Island, Drifting and being a finalist for England's Orange Prize for The Weight of Water. Shreve wrote 19 novels in all and was a favourite source for Hollywood with her books The Pilot's Wife, Resistance and The Weight of Water all become films.

Priscila Uppal, 43

Priscila Uppal, Canadian poet, died on Sept. 5, 2018. (

Canadian writer Priscila Uppal was the author of 10 books of poetry including Sabotage —  an exploration of modern-day acts of destruction — and the Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Ontological Necessities — a collection of poems on the nature of human relationships. In 2013, Uppal published the remarkable memoir Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother, which was shortlisted for both the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction and Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

William Whitehead, 86

Canadian writer Bill Whitehead is seen in this undated image. (HarperCollins Canada)

Canadian writer and actor William Whitehead was known for his documentary work at the CBC, where he wrote many seasons of The Nature of Things, for which he won several awards. In 2012, Whitehead published the memoir Words to Live By, which was nominated for the Stephen Leacock Medal for humour. He also edited a collection of work by his late partner, Timothy Findley, called Journey: Travels with a Writer.

Tom Wolfe, 88

American author and journalist Tom Wolfe, Jr. appears in his living room during an interview in July 2016. (The Associated Press/Bebeto Matthews)

Tom Wolfe was a pioneer of "new journalism" and author of 17 books, including The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities and A Man in Full. Wolfe was known for his wildly evocative descriptions of American life — coining phrases like, "radical chic" and "the me decade" — whether he was satirizing the struggle for power in New York or chronicling the cross-country adventures of LSD devotees. He began his career as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune in 1962 and developed a following over the decades for his fiction and nonfiction.


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