May 25, 2012
What William Toye apparently wanted most in the world after graduating from the University of Toronto in 1948, was a job in Canadian book publishing. This, Robert Fulford tells us in a recent National Post profile, was an outlandish career move since Canadian publishing barely existed. We had few publishers and they produced few books. They did little more than import American and British books, selling Bibles, dictionaries and schoolbooks to keep themselves afloat. But Toye was insistent. Says Fulford:
"When he applied for a job at the Canadian branch of Oxford University Press, he was told they had nothing for him but a place in the warehouse. He said that would be fine. Over the next six decades Canadian publishing steadily expanded and Toye found many ways to deploy the talents he developed. At age 84, still editing, he recently produced yet another in the long list of valuable books he’s given us, The Concise Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature, Second Edition."
Quite apart from the outstanding work he has produced as editor, the multi-talented Toye has also written and designed some beautiful, memorable books of his own, and it is these we met to talk about last month. Please listen here: