There are a few things that University of Toronto professor David Gilmour does not like: all Canadian writers, Chinese writers and female writers.
What does he like? Himself, it seems.
Also, dudes. Dudes can write.
In a recent interview with Hazlitt, an online magazine by Random House Canada, Gilmour said, “I’m not interested in teaching books by women.”
“What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys.”
But I can only teach stuff I love. I can’t teach stuff that I don’t, and I haven’t encountered any Canadian writers yet that I love enough to teach.
I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories. But once again, when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women. Except for Virginia Woolf. And when I tried to teach Virginia Woolf, she’s too sophisticated, even for a third-year class. Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.
Gilmour, whose novel “Extraordinary” is a finalist for the Giller prize, is under the impression that he teaches “only the best,” because he is, by his estimation, one of the best:
I got this job six or seven years ago, usually the University of Toronto doesn’t allow people to become professors without a doctorate. You have to have a doctorate to teach here, but they asked if I would teach a course, and I said I would. I’m a natural teacher, I was trained in television for many years. I know how to talk to a camera, therefore I know how to talk to a room of students. It’s the same thing. And my book ‘The Film Club’ is about teaching my son about life and the world through film.