Early in his career, Mr. Gibson was an instructor at Ryerson Institute of Technology. He later served as writer-in-residence at University of Waterloo and University of Ottawa in the 1980s.
As a novelist, Mr. Gibson published Five Legs (1969), Communion (1971), Perpetual Motion (1982) and Gentleman Death (1993). He has also written for film, radio and television, but is best known for a collection of interviews on literature and writing that he published in 1973 titled Eleven Canadian Novelists.
Mr. Gibson’s contribution to Canadian literature extended beyond his own writing and the mentorship of young authors to the institutions that support authors in Canada. He was a founding member of both The Writers’ Union of Canada, which advocates for the rights of authors, as well as their economic well-being, and the Writers’ Trust, which funds and administers literary awards and scholarships in Canada. Mr. Gibson also served as president of PEN Canada, an organization that advocates for the right to freedom of expression and opposes censorship.
(Mr. Graeme Gibson picture with partner, Margaret Atwood at Cape Breton University)
A lifelong bird watcher and naturalist, Mr. Gibson’s passion for literary expression was fused with his passion for the environment when he published The Bedside Book of Birds (2005) and The Bedside Book of Beasts (2009). In the environmental realm, he was instrumental in founding the Pelee Island Bird Observatory, along with his partner, Margaret Atwood. He has also been a council member of the World Wildlife Fund Canada and was Joint Honorary President, with Margaret Atwood, of BirdLife International’s Rare Bird Club.
Mr. Gibson’s literary contributions were recognized with a Toronto Arts Award in 1990 and a Harbourfront Festival Prize in 1993. His service to Canadian writers was recognized by The Writer’s Union of Canada in 1991, when they established the Graeme Gibson Award, which celebrates contributions that improve the circumstances of writers in Canada. Mr. Gibson was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1992 and an honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2007.