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Paul Quarrington 1953-2010

Like so many other Canlit lovers, I’m torn up today. There will no new Paul Quarrington novel to anticipate. Not any longer. Every few years there would be another, and we would line up to buy it. Then we would line up to hear him read sections to us (so much better than reading it ourselves). Then we would lament that we’d finished reading it. Then, the interminable wait until his next offering arrived. The Quarrington cycle. I know it well.

Long before I dared dream I might one day be a writer, I became an avid Quarrington fan. King Leary was my introduction. I was hooked. I quickly powered through the Quarrington canon and started collecting first editions (I do this for favourite authors). I loved his humour, melancholy introspection, and note-perfect dialogue. I can’t say I wouldn’t have written The Best Laid Plans without reading Paul Quarrington. But I can say with certainty, that his writing inspired me and taught me that it was possible to write a comic novel with a message and with a heart.

Sharing a car with Paul, and then the stage for a reading in Grimsby last spring, is a highlight in my fledgling writerly life. That, and appearing on the list of Leacock winners with him.

I will miss him. You can bet that I’ll have my nose in a Quarrington novel before the night is out, in tribute.

Here’s what I’ve written in the past about Paul:

The National Post’s online book site, The Afterword, collected tributes from the Canadian writing community today. Here’s my contribution.

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