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Literary Criticism Canadian

This Is Our Writing

by (author) T.F. Rigelhof

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Oct 2000
Canadian, Essays
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2000
    List Price

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Punctuate his title as you like but T.F. Rigelhof considers This is Our Writing a declaration, an enquiry and an exclamation. As a writer of half a dozen, a reviewer of dozens upon dozens, and as a reader of a multitude more books, Terry Rigelhof knows much about writing in Canada.

In these eleven essays, he asks what is best in what has been written by Canadians in the twentieth century. He examines selected works of some writers whose accomplishments need serious revaluation. What are the real achievements of Robertson Davies, Carole Corbeil, Mavis Gallant, Mordecai Richler, Hugh Hood, Leonard Cohen and George Grant? Rigelhof comes up with a list that will surprise some and dismay others.

This is a book for readers who have always known in their heart of hearts that Robertson Davies was an egregious windbag and that underneath the inspired silliness of their carefully contrived and managed public images, Mordecai Richler and Leonard Cohen have produced three of the most intelligent novels we have. In a sequence of interlocking personal essays, Rigelhof explores living a writerly life in Canada at the end of the twentieth century. The text is fortified by a dozen photographs, all but one previously unpublished, by Gabor Szilasi, one of Canada's greatest active documentary photographers.

About the author

T. F. Rigelhof is a contributing reviewer to the Books section at The Globe and Mail and was recently used as the intellectual pin-up for the new book section at the National Post.


His essay on religion in Canada at the end of the millennium, A Blue Boy in a Black Dress: A Memoir, won the QSPELL/Royal Bank of Canada Award for Non-Fiction in 1996 and was also nominated for the Governor General's Award. His critically acclaimed short stories of contemporary life in Montreal have been anthologized and adapted for television and are collected in Je t'aime, Cowboy.


His first novel, The Education of J.J. Pass, has been ranked as one of the best coming-of-age novels written by a Canadian. His satirical second novel, Badass on a Softail, was a finalist for the Mordecai Richler's Prix Parizeau II. Recently retired from teaching at Dawson College, Rigelhof now lives in Westmount, Quebec.

T.F. Rigelhof's profile page

Editorial Reviews

'Over the last decade, The Porcupine's Quill has developed a minor specialty in publishing cantankerous books that challenge the complacency of Canadian literary commentary. ...Now comes T.F. Rigelhof's This Is Our Writing, which asks the bracing and necessary question: What is truly good in Canadian fiction and what is merely trendy and popular?'

The National Post

'[T.F. Rigelhof is] the choice man for reading our society's erratic spiritual pulse.'

The Montreal Gazette

'In This Is Our Writing, critic and novelist T.F. Rigelhof offers a rigorous appraisal of Canadian fiction, handing out half a dozen bouquets and a few walloping brickbats to those works he has found compelling enough to win his admiration or overrated enough to draw his ire. Rigelhof's criticism will be familiar to regular readers of the Globe & Mail, and This Is Our Writing finds him at his most personal, blending his heartfelt opinions with a kind of meandering autobiography that is rare, but not unwelcome, in the straitlaced field of literary criticism.'

Other titles by T.F. Rigelhof