Award-winning Canadian author Richard B. Wright has died at 79

Wed, 08 Feb 2017

TORONTO, February 8, 2017 – Award-winning Canadian author Richard B. Wright has died at 79.
It is with great sadness that Simon & Schuster Canada and The Cooke Agency share that Richard B. Wright, the award-winning author of Clara Callan, passed away February 7 at the age of 79.

Dean Cooke (The Cooke Agency), Wright’s longtime literary agent said, “It was one of the highlights of my career in publishing to know and work with Richard Wright. His talent and achievements as a writer are a matter of public record. Richard’s first novel was a critical success but out of necessity and perseverance he rose at five a.m. to write every day for thirty years before heading to his day job as a respected English teacher at Ridley College. Only with the publication of his best known novel, Clara Callan, came recognition and financial independence. His dedication serves as a reminder to authors and publishers that success in the craft often comes over the course of a lifetime of hard work, not six weeks after first publication. He was a lovely man and a real writer.” "His extraordinary grace as a writer was a gift to all of us‎," said his longtime publisher and editor, Phyllis Bruce, editor of Phyllis Bruce Editions, Simon & Schuster Canada.

Richard B. Wright was born in Midland, Ontario, in 1937. He studied radio and television arts at Toronto’s Ryerson University before taking jobs as a copyeditor for small-town radio and newspapers. Wright then began work as an assistant editor for Macmillan Canada. It was here that he wrote his first book, the children’s title Andrew Tolliver (later retitled One John A Too Many), and met the love of his life, Phyllis Cotton – they were married for 51 years until her death in 2016.

Wright published his first novel for adults, The Weekend Man, to great success in 1970. He gained wide recognition for his 2001 novel, Clara Callan, which won the Giller Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the Governor General's Award. In all, Wright would publish 13 novels over the course of a celebrated career, the most recent of which was the national bestseller, Nightfall. He also published his memoir, A Life with Words, in 2015.

In addition to his writing career, Wright was a treasured teacher. He joined the staff at St. Catharines’ Ridley College in 1976, and taught English to generations of students until his retirement in 2001. In 2006, Wright received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Trent University, and in 2007 he became a member of the Order of Canada.

Contact information at Simon & Schuster Canada: Adria Iwasutiak, 647-427-4984 / adria.iwasutiak@simonandschuster.ca
Contact information at The Cooke Agency: Paige Sisley, 647-788-4015 / PSisley@cookeagency.ca 

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