Written by Nancy Tinari; copy edited by Maggie Clark
On the evening of October 18, 2016, three of Canada’s top writers spoke at the Vancouver Writers Fest to give a moving depiction of the late Ellen Seligman. Seligman, an editor with McClelland & Stewart for almost four decades, was esteemed for her work with many of Canada’s best-known writers, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Jane Urquhart.
The panel discussion was moderated by Jared Bland; the writers taking part were Michael Helm, Steven Price, and Madeleine Thien. Seligman edited Helm’s and Price’s most recently published books (After James and By Gaslight, respectively) during the final year of her life, and she had previously edited Thien’s book Dogs at the Perimeter. These writers’ anecdotes about Seligman revealed an editor who, even in the face of mortal illness, remained unparalleled in her insights, devotion to her writers, and dedication to her work.