Wednesday, January 9, 2019

CAL's Ninth Anniverary and Interview with Robertson Davies (1985)

Kevin Courrier's interview with Robertson Davies was conducted in 1985.

This week marks the ninth anniversary of Critics At Large. On January 7, 2010, Kevin Courrier, with Shlomo Schwartzberg and the late David Churchill, launched this site as a daily online arts journal that would provide veteran and new critics an independent space to publish outside the constraints of conventional media. That we are still going strong after nine years is a testament to Kevin's vision and personality. Since we lost Kevin in October, this anniversary is a bittersweet time for all of us here at Critics At Large. Throughout his three-year struggle with cancer, Kevin continued to lead us with passion and purpose, regularly contributing as a critic and equally powerfully as our first and always best reader. Kevin was a colleague and a mentor and a friend to each of us. I will remember him always as the man who found no greater pleasure than in guiding others to find their own unique voices, as he did himself in his decades-long career.

With every new year, as our editor-in-chief Kevin had a tradition of re-reading our previous year's pieces and selecting among them the ones that resonated most powerfully with him. With his untimely passing still so present for all of us, we felt that there was no better way to close the previous year and begin this new one with the sound of his voice.

During the '80s, Kevin was assistant producer and co-host of the radio show On the Arts at CJRT-FM in Toronto, and throughout that decade conducted countless interviews with artists of all fields. Over the years, we have published numerous interviews here on Critics At Large. Today, I have chosen the one with author Robertson Davies (conducted in 1985, around the time of the publication Davies's novel What's Bred in the Bone, previously appearing here only in transcribed excerpts) because the short conversation powerfully demonstrates the depth and intimacy Kevin created in every conversation he had, on radio and off.

Kevin lived better – more fully, more intentionally – than anyone I have ever met and his work and life will never cease to be an inspiration for me – as a critic, as a lover of the arts, and as a human being. I can't think of no better way to begin a new year and our tenth year of publication than to spend a few minutes with Kevin, one more time.

Mark Clamen
Critics At Large

Here is Kevin Courrier's interview with Robertson Davies as it aired on CJRT-FM in 1985.

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