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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Liz Calder CBE (born 20 January 1938)[1] is an English publisher and book editor.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Eleanor Wachtel, Part 1 | Dec. 2, 2010 | Appel Salon
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  • ✪ Eleanor Wachtel, Part 6 | Dec. 2, 2010 | Appel Salon


[applause] Eleanor Wachtel: Thank you very much, Tina, and thanks to the Toronto Public Library for hosting this event. I'm thrilled to be here. Well, actually, I'm slightly terrified to be here, and as you can hear, I have a cold, but this morning I woke up without a voice, and I thought, no one will believe me. And, as Michael and I were waiting backstage, we both realized we were both infinitely more anxious than we would be were the roles reversed. EW: But, first with regard to Writers and Company's anniversary, and here I may be repeating something I've said elsewhere, but it does bear repeating, so I hope those of you who were at Harbourfront will indulge me. And this is where I have to tell you how privileged I feel to be here, privileged to have access to the best writers in the world, one of whom is joining us tonight. It's also a privilege to have access to people across the country through a public broadcaster. And, this is something that I'm acutely aware of when I go to other cities, and when I when I receive mail and emails from listeners, and I feel extraordinarily lucky to have that privilege. EW: I'm also lucky to work and to have worked with such supportive colleagues whose names you've heard. I owe a huge debt to the founding producer, Sandra Rabinovitch, who continues to produce all special series, as well as many other major interviews, and I think there is a Sandra Klak that started to applaud... [applause] And to producer, Mary Stinson, who has been with the show since 1995 and who's standing over there. And associate producer Nancy McIlveen with whom I've worked since 1994. In fact, I should tell you that this whole idea of turning the tables on me was Nancy's, so we had a good 16 years, Nancy, but it's too bad it had to come to this. Nancy McIlveen. Thanks also to the ongoing support of CBC Radio Arts and Entertainment, and in particular, Kim Orchard and Susan Feldman. EW: Before we start the show, I do want to give an enormous thanks to Michael Ondaatje, not only for tonight, but right from the beginning from when I first moved to Toronto 22 years ago, 23 years ago actually. The first year I moved to Toronto, I was from Vancouver, and actually, the first year, I was in denial. I would run into people and they would say, "Oh, you moved to Toronto." And, I would say, "No, I still live in Vancouver, but I'm working here now." So, that's why I subtracted a year. It's actually a little bit like Tennessee Williams who cut four years off his age, and when somebody challenged him on it, he said he didn't want to count the four years he worked in a shoe factory in St. Louis. EW: But, right from when I first moved to Toronto, whenever that was, Michael Ondaatje extended friendship and warmth. And, after just two years of Writers and Company, he encouraged me to publish some of the interviews, to put them together in a book, and in 1993 Knopf Canada, and Harcourt-Brace in the US published Writers and Company, and then in 1996, followed by More Writers and Company, and then Original Minds, and so on. And, then again, 10 years ago, in anticipation of Writers and Company's tenth anniversary, it was Michael who suggested we celebrate with a special event, and he agreed to participate which was a huge draw for the other panelists, Richard Ford, Victoria Glendinning, and Mary Gordon. So, when Nancy came up with this idea, I said, "There's only one person I would want," thinking that would get me off the hook. Please welcome the most generous and kind, Michael Ondaatje. [applause] [background noise] Michael Ondaatje: Okay? [laughter] S?: Okay? MO: Sure. Thanks. [background noise] [laughter] MO: I'm sorry, I'm protesting this. Okay. Is this level okay? S?: Yeah. [background noise] MO: The show's almost over now. [laughter] EW: That was a good strategy. Do you need more from us? Okay, so the... Do you want to say what you had for breakfast? MO: No. No. But I think I can... They can hear me now. Can you hear me now? Am I okay? Okay. EW: Do you have enough from Michael or more from me? More from me? Vitamin C. Vitamin C and B. Cold effects. [laughter] EW: This is lemon tea which is perhaps not a good thing. There are different views on lemon tea. MO: Can we take a vote on that? Is it a... [laughter] EW: Okay. So, I guess we're ready to go. MO: Yeah. [music] MO: I'm Michael Ondaatje, and this is Writers and Company. Today, a special show with the Canadian writer and broadcaster, Eleanor Wachtel, reflecting on 20 years of Writers and Company. [music] [applause] EW: I just wanna ask you a little embarrassing question. You pick romantic subjects to write about, the exoticism and romance of the desert. There's a lot of romance in your books, in your poetry especially. You, yourself, I think, cut a romantic figure. Have you always seen your life in romantic terms? Have you ever seen your life in romantic terms? MO: I haven't seen my life in romantic terms, but I want to see my life in romantic terms. [chuckle] I remember talking to you before and the last time I was hungover, and I mean when we did an interview last time. [laughter] EW: Well, to be fair, you had just, I think found out you were on the shortlist for the Booker or something like that. MO: Yeah. But I think there is a huge difference, I think, from the poems here and the earlier books only in the sense that they're cut down to kind of something as minimal as possible to try and kind of note it down to one... It's like maple syrup. EW: It is not. [laughter] MO: Sorry. Bad image. [laughter] EW: I don't have a correction for that point. [laughter] MO: I thought it was boiling down, the same... EW: At one point in the novel, Anil's Ghost, you have three people, Anil, Seraphim, Ananda, the artist, in an abandoned building, isolated, cut off. Sound familiar? [laughter] MO: I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because I didn't want to write about myself in some strange way. It was a more... In some ways a more public voice. It was a wee voice. Not, we, the wee, wee. [laughter] EW: That was the wee voice. MO: It might have my Spanish background. [laughter] EW: Why is the artist called an artificer? MO: I don't know. Isn't that okay? EW: Oh, no. I thought it was a particular kind of word. MO: It seemed more technical in a way. It's almost like a more mechanical thing in a way. EW: And when Ananda is up there, he reflects. He says, he knew if he did not remain an artificer, he would become a demon. Do you understand why? MO: Yeah. That I understand. Frankly your question... [laughter] EW: You see, I put it so tentatively. [laughter] What was your early life like in Sri Lanka? MO: Well, I think it might have been chaotic, but I remember it very romantically. Okay. [laughter] EW: Thank you for that. Was reading a kind of a transformative experience for you? MO: No. [laughter]


Early life

Born in January 1938, Liz Calder spent her early years in London, and in 1949 she emigrated with her family to New Zealand. She graduated with a BA in English literature from Canterbury University in 1958 and returned to the UK. During the 1960s she lived in Canada and the USA and, for four years, in São Paulo, Brazil.[2]


Calder began her publishing career in 1971 at Victor Gollancz Ltd, where she published Salman Rushdie’s first novel Grimus, John Irving’s The World According to Garp and Angela Carter's The Passion of New Eve.[2]

Joining Jonathan Cape in 1979, she published two Man Booker Prize winners, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight's Children and Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac. She was also Julian Barnes' editor for his first four novels, including Flaubert's Parrot.[3] In 1986 she became a founder director of Bloomsbury Publishing, where her list included Booker winners Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje and Nobel literature laureate Nadine Gordimer. In 1997 she was named Editor of the Year at the British Book Awards. She was a founder of the Groucho Club and the Orange Prize for Fiction. In 2010 she was a judge on the Orange Prize. [2]

She was chair of the Royal Court Theatre (2000-2003), and since 2003 has been President of the Parati International Literary Festival (Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty, FLIP) in Brazil.[2] She was awarded the Brazilian National Order of the Southern Cross and the Order of Cultural Merit in 2004.[3] In 2012 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University Campus Suffolk. [4]

In 2009 she joined John and Genevieve Christie and Louis Baum to set up a Suffolk-based publishing house, Full Circle Editions. In October 2013, Full Circle produced FlipSide, a Brazilian literary and music festival, at Snape Maltings, Suffolk, home of Aldeburgh Music.[4]

In the 2018 Birthday Honours Calder was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to literature.[5] She received the award from Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in December 2018. In the same month she was confirmed as one of the judges for the 2019 Man Booker Prize.[6] Also in 2018, Calder was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and received the RSL Benson Medal in recognition of her "meritorious works in poetry, fiction, history and belles lettres".[7]

Private life

She has a daughter, Rachel, and a son, Toby, and four grandchildren, Jack, Milo and Matilda in Cambridge, and Arthur in Rio de Janeiro. Married to author and editor Louis Baum, she also has a stepson, Simon Baum, and two step-grandchildren, Leo and Poppy Valentine, in London.


  1. ^ Janetschek, Liz. "Liz Calder". Publishing Trendsetter. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Wizard Talent The Guardian, 2 July 2005
  3. ^ a b Blooming at Bloomsbury University of Canterbury (NZ) Magazine 2005, Vol 2, No 2,
  4. ^ a b East Anglian Daily Times, 24 September 2013, Steve Russell
  5. ^ "Elizabeth CALDER". Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Bloomsbury co-founder 'nervous' about joining Man Booker Prize judging panel". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Royal Society of Literature » The Benson Medal". Retrieved 27 March 2019.
This page was last edited on 26 November 2019, at 08:53
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