After Doug’s show at the Readings at the Roselawn Series in Port Colborne on February 23, 2012, series director William Thomas offered the following praise:
“Doug Gibson, the pre-eminent editor, mentor and friend to the giants of Canadian literature has created a riveting, revealing, oh-so-personal one-man stage presentation honouring the icons of our cultural zenith.
With cartoonist Tony Jenkins’ brilliant and impish caricatures of Gibson’s cast of characters in the background, Doug performs a moving, enlightening and very funny tribute to the likes of some of our greatest writers and some of our most controversial Prime Ministers.
It’s “CanLit to the power of one” with touching behind the scenes stories and juicy once-secret exchanges –it’s brilliant and beyond the expectations of the audience.
As host of Readings at the Roselawn in Port Colborne, I have introduced almost every great Canadian writer over the past 20 years. And though I do remember a handful of standing ovations, I have never seen 300 people leap from their seats so fast and stay on their feet so long. Good on you, Doug – the editor who is outshining his stable of stars.”
The West Edmonton Local featured a review of Stories About Storytellers the Show after Doug’s performance at Grant MacEwan University’s Centre for the Arts and Communications in Edmonton. Reporter Craig Fraser writes,
“Gibson spoke of his adventures fluently with a captivated audience at his fingertips. . . . Gibson was vivid in his recollection of events, and his ability as a storyteller was masterful as he recollected profound and heart-wrenching stories. . . . Ultimately, Gibson’s impressions, memories and even humorous recollections came full circle as he explored emotional reaches of himself and the audience with grace and humility.”
Read the full review here.
Robert Currie is a well-known Saskatchewan retired professor and writer, who won a Governor General’s award for his biography of Somerset Maugham. He has kindly offered permission to quote from his email.
I expected the book to be entertaining — and I certainly was entertained. However, I was also impressed with how thorough it was in its quick studies of various authors, and how effectively you worked into most chapters digressions about other authors or various intriguing characters from the book trade. Your stories were forthright and honest, and some were also deeply moving. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine any lover of books not being enthralled by STORIES ABOUT STORYTELLERS with all its fascinating inside information about the publishing world. Congratulations on a fine book.
The well-known political insider Jim Coutts has read Stories About Storytellers with admiration. He has given us permission to quote from his letter to Doug Gibson:
I’ve not been surprised by the wonderful reviews your book has received over the last month.
I’ve read the book with a critical eye, as I know several of the people whom you edited – Paul Martin, Pierre Trudeau, W.O.Mitchell, Brian Mulroney and Peter Newman. You simply get it right every time, catching the flavour of each individual, exposing their weaknesses with loving care and celebrating their strengths. I’m glad you’ve written this book. It was an important thing to do. . . .”
Writer, editor and journalist Jonathan Webb praised Douglas Gibson’s stage show on his blog otherpeoplesbooks. Webb, notes
Gibson has transformed his memories of literary acquaintances over the course of a lifetime into an infinitely expandable performance. It’s a trick he learned from the best. . . . He’s happy to impart secrets. The audience of more than fifty at the Bookshelf in Guelph on Friday night was pleased to be taken into his confidence. They came away with a bit of insight into how books are made. They heard a number of good stories. And they were treated to a masterful performance, a life turned into art.
Read the rest of the review here.
Stories About Storytellers has been positively reviewed in the Literary Review of Canada. Reviewer John Burns writes,
“Relives in 21 chapters the (few) perils and (many) pleasures of life in Canadian publishing. It is filled with markers of not just editorial diligence . . . but also a life well lived: friends drawn around a well-fortified table, scenes of children (Gibson’s and authors) playing soccer under indulgent supervision, much travel and adventure (usually to badger authors or celebrate their wins — or both) and even more hijinks. . . .
Let us celebrate Gibson’s enthusiasms. . . . [and] Gibson’s gleeful encounters with Hugh MacLennan, Morley Callaghan, W.O.Mitchell, Pierre Trudeau, Robertson Davies, Peter Gzowski and others – all dead now, all fixed in the amber of the past.
Gibson is too bright, too spirited and too gentlemanly to prefer the past merely for its own sake. His is a straining intelligence, ever onward, as these accounts plainly show. . . .
With this book he reveals a little of the ugly duckling turned swan himself.”
Stories About Storytellers has been positively reviewed in the Guelph Mercury. Reviewer Veronica Ross writes,
“This is a delightful book. I have fallen in love with it and keep dipping into it all the time. I could kiss its delightful face . . .”
Read the rest of the review here.
Sasha Champman praised Stories About Storytellers in the December 2011 issue of The Walrus magazine. The review notes,
“Gibson’s forty years at the epicentre of Canadian publishing inform his rollicking first book, Stories About Storytellers. . . . Gibson is a gossip of the first order, the kind who tells all, or at least enough, about his subjects’ foibles, but always in a way that delights in their eccentricities. He writes with charming exuberance about his role as midwife to the memoirs of several prime ministers. . . . Likewise, Gibson’s stories profile not just storytellers, but also the country that produced them.”
Read the full review online here.
Writer and broadcaster Nigel Beale live blogged Douglas Gibson’s stage show Stories About Storytellers at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Beale writes,
Gibson is an engaging, endearing — at times ebullient – animated storyteller, and a talented mimic. . . . Read Stories About Storytellers. It’s delightful fun. And if Gibson delivers his one man presentation of it at a Festival anywhere near you, run to it. It’s even better. Complete with music, it’s an event worthy of Stephen Leacock. Charles Dickens even.
Get a feel for the show by reading the live blog here.
The Saturday, October 29th edition of the Globe and Mail contained Linda Leith’s positive review of Stories About Storytellers. Leith concludes,
“Gibson is an engaging and on the whole a modest figure and a very fine raconteur. He, too, has had a hell of an interesting life. His book makes for great reading, and he makes his life in publishing sound like great fun.”
Read the full review here.
The Saturday Globe also published several short excerpts from Stories About Storytellers. Read them here.