Greatest Literature banner

Richard B. Wright

CritiqueWorks • Views and quotes

missing graphic
Biographical details ▽ Biographical details △

Midland, Ontario, Canada, 1937

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, 2017



Writing language


Greatest lists ▽ Greatest lists △

Clara Callan (2001)


Clara Callan (2001)

Canadian Literature

The Weekend Man (1970)

Clara Callan (2001)

On books, writers and writing


The especially challenging aspect of any novel for me is establishing the main character. Once I have that character's "voice", I feel the book begins to live. I had to imagine what it was like to be a woman like Clara in the 1930s. But that's what novelists do—imagine what it's like to be someone else. The letters and diary entries seemed a natural way to tell her story.

"An interview with Richard B. Wright", BookBrowse


The immense popularity of Clara Callan was of course a new phenomenon in my life. Although some of my earlier books were published internationally and had good reviews, none of them reached the readers that I no seem to have with the publication of Clara Callan. That is gratifying, but it doesn't really affect the way I am going to write my books.... it is the actual writing of the book that provides the deepest and most lasting satisfaction: the creation of characters, working with words to make something  out of your imagination come alive, even though at times it can also be frustrating and enervating....

I don't really see too many similarities between Dan Fielding in Adultery and Wes Wakeham in The Weekend Man, apart from the fact that both work in publishing (so for that matter does Howard Wheeler in The Age of Longing); both men are decent, sensitive guys who usually try to do the right thing, though they don't always succeed. So they have rather similar sensibilities, but they lead quite different lives and I think have different aspirations....

It's a mistake and a very common one nowadays to assume that the writer has experienced everything he writes about. Much of what he writes he has perhaps experienced, but not necessarily everything. Everyday when he sits down to write, he goes through this and that, finding what he can to burnish his tale. He also relies on what he has read and seen i  movies or on television, in the world around him. So imagination and observation are what it's all about.

"A Conversation with Richard B. Wright", addendum to Adultery


[Author and publisher] David Godfrey was my spectacular enemy.... He was my enemy and didn’t like my work at all and went out of his way to say so. In a very uncivil manner. I nearly punched him out once ... should have now, when I think of it. He was part of it, and Margaret Atwood and these other people talking about "victimization". I had no time for that. I was an outlier and was happy enough being out on the fringe of it. I wanted no part of the Toronto-centric writers’ scene and just ignored them and got on with my life....

I wish that the hockey book [The Age of Longing] had a few more readers. It did establish me after a very fallow period. I enjoyed writing that book an awful lot and I would have liked to see it do a little better. Mind you it was on the short list for the Giller Prize and that was really a sort of resurgence, a renaissance for me because I’d been going through a time when I wasn’t getting much attention. The Age of Longing was a book that made me want to go on writing at a time when I wasn’t sure and the red dog [of anxiety] was really barking at me.

Interview, Herman Goodden.


CritiqueWorks • Views and quotes