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Poet, editor Kildare Dobbs dead at age 89

The National Post is reporting that Kildare Dobbs, a fixture on the CanLit scene since the 1950s, died today in Toronto.

Born in India and educated in Ireland, Dobbs came to Canada in 1952, and joined the Macmillan Company of Canada as editor the following year. While at Macmillan, Dobbs worked with writers such as Sinclair Ross, Morley Callaghan, and Adele Wiseman, whom he is credited with discovering. In The Literary Legacy of the Macmillan Company of Canada, author Ruth Panofsky claims that Dobbs “was among Canada’s first professional editors.”

A poet and essayist, Dobbs won a 1962 Governor General’s Literary Award for his memoir, Running to Paradise. He was the co-founder of the Tamarack Review and wrote for the Star Weekly and Saturday Night; he also served as the managing editor of the latter publication.

Canada’s Governor General David Johnston went to Dobbs’s Toronto home earlier this year to present the author, who was suffering from ill health and thus unable to travel, with the Order of Canada for his lengthy and influential contribution to Canadian writing.

The National Post quotes an email from poet Richard Greene, who says, “He was, I think, the last great voice of a generation of Canadian writers that now falls silent.”