Monthly Archives: November 2009

University College, post-World War I

In honour of UC History Week, here is a quotation from a famous novel which mentions University College:

“In the autumn of 1919 I entered University College, in the University of Toronto, as an honours student in history. I was not properly qualified, but five professors talked to me for an hour and decided to admit me based on some special ruling invoked on behalf of a number of men who had been abroad fighting.”
Fifth Business / Robertson Davies (1970)

Secrets of the names on the JCR walls

Charles Levi is giving a talk this evening, as part of UC History Week,  about the history of the UC Lit: “Politicians, Lawyers, Defrocked Priests and That Guy Who Shot His Leg Off: Secrets of the names on the JCR walls.”

If you’d like to read more, we have Charles Levi’s book about the UC Lit at Laidlaw Library: Comings and goings : university students in Canadian society, 1854-1973, as well as his PhD dissertation, Where the famous people were? : the origins, activities and future careers of student leaders at University College, Toronto, 1854-1973.

And if you’re interested in the history of UC and U of T, you might also want to read A not unsightly building : University College and its history, as well as the book by last night’s speaker: Martin Friedland’s The University of Toronto : a history (we have both at Laidlaw).

GG Awards

The Governor General’s Literary Awards were announced yesterday.  M.G. Vassanji won for his memoir A Place Within: Rediscovering India.  Kate Pullinger, who grew up in Canada and now lives in the U.K., won for her Victorian-era novel The Mistress of Nothing.  Kevin Loring won for his first ever play, Where the Blood Mixes (he’s also an accomplished actor). North Vancouver poet David Zieroth won for The Fly in Autumn.

Laidlaw Library has purchased all these books; here are links to the library catalogue:

The Bishop’s Man


Fifth Estate host Linden MacIntyre has won the Giller Prize for his novel The Bishop’s Man!
Set in Cape Breton, the novel deals with the timely issue of sexual abuse by priests and coverups by the church hierarchy. Here’s a review of the book from Quill & Quire.
The other shortlisted titles were The Disappeared by Kim Echlin, Fall by Colin McAdam, The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon, and The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels.



If you’re looking for a book to mark Remembrance Day, I recommend Coventry, by Helen Humphreys.  It’s a fairly short novel about two women in the British city of Coventry and what happens to them and their loved ones during both World Wars.

Much of it takes place on the night in 1940 when Coventry sustained its worst bombing.  It gave me some sense of what it was like for civilians to live through such an attack.