Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 2, 2016

Vale Kevin from Canada

I am so very sorry to have learned that fellow-blogger Kevin from Canada has lost his battle with cancer.   Trevor Berrett from The Mookse and the Gripes broke the news on Kevin’s blog overnight and I found it there this morning Australian time.

Words are wholly inadequate but this is the tribute to Kevin that I posted as a comment:

Waking up to this sad news in Australia, I am overwhelmed by the loss of a great friend and mentor. Kevin was interested in the common features of Canadian and Australian literature and we were frequent visitors to each other’s blogs. He was my behind-the-scenes guide when I led a Shadow Jury for the Man Asian Booker and his wise advice and encouraging ideas will never be forgotten.
But more than that, in the small but precious network of lit-bloggers around the world, Kevin was the one among us who championed the great literature of Canada, introducing us to a wonderful world of authors who have enriched our lives as readers. Only readers who care passionately about books will understand how much it means to have a forum where books and the conversations about them are an integral part of our daily lives, and the forum here at Kevin from Canada was one of the best. His reviews were brilliant; his praise could make a book irresistible. My bookshelves are a testament to that.
I knew Kevin was ill, and I knew too, that his brief return for the last Giller Shadow Jury was an act of courage and determination. So I knew that the long silence here meant that we were losing him, and I longed to send him an old-fashioned card, to tell him and his family how much he meant to me, an obscure blogger on the other side of the world. It was a curious thing to realise that I didn’t have a bricks-and-mortar address for a virtual friend who meant so much to me. Today I realise that I don’t even know what he looked like, but I am weeping all the same.
To Sheila and family, please accept my condolences. Vale Kevin, you will be sorely missed.

Update: Thanks to a link sent by Kim from Reading Matters, I can add a face to my memories. See the tribute from the Calgary Herald where Kevin was a journalist and editor.


Responses

  1. It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? Did you get my email? I sent one to let you know the news before you saw it on Kevin’s blog…

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    • *wan smile* I found out on Facebook first, and then your email. I was just about to reply to it when I saw this comment.
      I knew it must be coming but I am devastated.

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  2. Lisa my sincere condolences – distance always seems to deepen the pain. This is a lovely tribute to a talented man’s valuable legacy.

    You’ve had so much sorrow already these past few months and new grief tends to remind us of all the others – please take care of yourself.

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    • Thanks, Mairi, you are right about his legacy *smile*

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  3. A sad loss. I didn’t know him as well as you, but I was aware of his work and occasionally commented.

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    • I wonder who will take up the reins for Canadian literature now. Kevin’s are big shoes to fill…

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  4. So sad. Thanks for posting this!

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  5. You know, I was going to email you a few days ago to ask if you’d heard anything, because I’d seen him come back briefly for the Giller Prize and then disappear again, so I guessed the news was not good. Very sad to hear. And as you say, it is so much harder to reach out to virtual friends sometimes because we just don’t have the “real” contacts for them. He leaves behind, though, a wonderful blog full of considered writing about a a wide range of books. A great legacy (in addition to his his family of course.)

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    • I hope his blog is archived, the way ours are by Pandora.

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      • Yes, hopefully other major libraries are doing what the NLA does.

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  6. Thanks for posting the link. I had no idea he was from Alberta. What a rich and full life he had.

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    • Yes, it was a privilege to know him:)

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  7. Such a lovely tribute to Kevin, Lisa. It saddens me to think he has gone from us but what an amazing person and wonderful legacy

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    • He was one of those people who seemed effortlessly to move with the times…

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  8. Sad news indeed. Lovely tribute Lisa. Sending love.

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    • Thanks, Karen. A sad reminder to make the most of every minute we have…

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  9. […] much-lauded Canadian novel The Orenda on my TBR since 2013 and I intended to read it as a sort of tribute to Kevin from Canada, but I’m afraid I really didn’t like it at […]

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