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Our Hero regrets omitting Mordecai Richler


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I omitted Mordecai Richler from 50 Canadians Who Changed the World. Now I am sorry. I realize that I was wrong.  At a recent promotional event, someone asked me, “Have you discovered any omissions during this trip across Canada? Anyone you feel you should have included but did not?”
At the time, I said no. Now, I would have to say yes.
Mordecai Richler (1931-2001) is the Canadian writer from whom I learned most about writing narrative. Consider only the way he juggles timelines in St. Urbain’s Horseman, Joshua Then and Now,  and Solomon Gursky Was Here.
Richler was a brilliant craftsman. As a novelist, he worked in the great Jewish tradition of Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, and Philip Roth. But he changed the world by adding a Canadian dimension to that tradition. He changed it, as well, by taking a courageous stand against ethnic nationalism in Quebec, which culminated in his controversial Oh Canada, Oh Quebec.
Somewhere, I have a photo of Mordecai and me sharing a drink at the Palliser Hotel.  Above is a recent shot, taken by Sheena, of the Palliser bar and the table where we sat.
When I write a sequel, call it Another 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, I will write first about Mordecai Richler. 


Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.

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