Ellen and I were colleagues at McClelland & Stewart for almost twenty years. When I became the Publisher in 1988, Ellen was the Editorial Director for Fiction. She was already a legend who had been at M&S for over a decade, and had established herself over that time as a superb editor who specialised in fiction.
My main role in this area, in fact, was simply to clear the way for Ellen to work her magic with the authors whose trust and affection she had earned. Their names, and their prize-winning books, are too well known to bear repeating here. It is the heartfelt tributes from these bereaved authors that speak most tellingly to the great qualities of Ellen Seligman.
An extra dimension was her superb eye for talent. At any Sales Conference when Ellen began to use her expressive hands as she wove her tale about a new writer (perhaps a poet named Anne Michaels who had just written a wonderful first novel), the Sales Force and the entire Marketing Team would sit up and pay very close attention, to their great benefit.
I have written elsewhere that I hoped that Ellen might some day write the inside story of her creative dealings with so many famous and grateful authors. Sadly, it seems that this will not happen. We have all been deprived of a fascinating book by her untimely death.