We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of beloved Canadian novelist, essayist, and poet Stan Dragland. An author and friend of the press, Stan was many things to so many of us: the founder of Brick Books and Brick Literary Journal, a member of the Order of Canada, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, literary critic, and mentor to many. He was also one of the kindest, wisest, and loveliest people we’ve had the pleasure of working with and knowing. What a profound loss this is to the Canadian writing and publishing industry.
We had the sincere pleasure of working with Stan as both an author and editor. In 2013, we published Deep Too, a funny and sometimes biting book of nonfiction stories about the phenomenon of male strut and competition. In praise of Deep Too, Marina Endicott wrote, “To the work of illuminating pain, he puts his enormous heart and brilliant mind, his ever-ready wit, and a lambent prose that truly glows from within.” We’ll never forget travelling with Stan to launch the book in London, Ontario. It was a magical night of readings, music and funny banter by Stan and friend and fellow writer, Phil Hall, that we’ll always treasure.
Stan also worked closely with Argentine writer Guadalupe Muro as she developed and wrote Air Carnation, an absorbing narrative that blends fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and song, about independence in love and the writerly life. The two met at The Banff Centre when Lupe attended the Wired Writing Studio; Stan was her writing mentor and encouraged her in her decision to write Air Carnation in English rather than Spanish. They continued working together long after Banff, and eventually, Stan introduced Lupe and her beautiful book to the press. He also went on to edit the book for the press. We’ll also never forget when Stan secretly travelled to Toronto to surprise Lupe on the day of the Toronto launch of Air Carnation. After such a close working relationship, Stan really wanted to be there to introduce Lupe at her book launch, which is only a small testament to what a wonderful and kind man he was.
Our most sincere condolences go out to Beth Follett, and to his family and friends, and all who loved him. Rest in peace, Stan. You will be so missed.