The Sunday Magazine

Remembering Graeme Gibson, who loved birds and words

He was a great lover of birds and words. A conservationist, a literary activist, and quite simply, a lovely guy. Graeme Gibson died on Wednesday 18 September. Hear Michael Enright's conversation with him about one of the books for which he was beloved, The Bedside Book of Beasts.
Graeme Gibson died on Wednesday 18 September at the age of 85. He was a writer, conservationist and partner to acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood. A member of the Order of Canada, Graeme Gibson was an accomplished man. (Dennis Minty)

Graeme Gibson was a tall man. A gentle, gracious man.

Birds give the impression of being free of gravity. They may be associated with whatever survives the body's death.- Graeme Gibson
He was a devoted birdwatcher, conservationist, and partner to writer Margaret Atwood. 

Gibson was born in London, Ont., and this week, he died, with Margaret at his side, in London, England. He was 85.

Graeme Gibson called his book The Bedside Book of Beasts "a miscellany devoted to alpha predators and their prey."   (Submitted by Doubleday)
He was a man of letters. He wrote many books, including the novels Five Legs and Perpetual Motion.

He was a literary activist: co-founder of the Writers' Trust and the Writers' Union of Canada, He was one-time president of PEN Canada. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1992.

In short, he was an accomplished man. Ten years ago, Michael Enright spoke to Gibson about his last book. The Bedside Book of Beasts was what he called a "miscellany devoted to alpha predators and their prey." 

"Birds give the impression of being free of gravity. They may be associated with whatever survives the body's death," he told Enright. 

"They are associated with creativity, with longing, with imagination, with soul and spirit."

Click 'listen' above to hear the full interview. 


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