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David Helwig Biography

(1938– ), Atlantic Crossings, A Book of the Hours, The Sign of the Gunman

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Canadian writer, born in Toronto, educated at the Universities of Toronto and Liverpool. Helwig first attracted attention as a poet whose work moved between domestic themes and a concern with violent, anti-social behaviour. His long poem Atlantic Crossings (1974) offers an individual perspective on Canadian history through an examination of four archetypal journeys to the Americas. A Book of the Hours (1979) is centred on the figure of the scholar Thomas Bullfinch. His many other volumes of verse include The Sign of the Gunman (1969), The Best Name of Silence (1972), and The Hundred Old Names (1988). Helwig's best-known fictional work is a tetralogy of novels set in Kingston: The Glass Knight (1976), Jennifer (1979), It Is Always Summer (1982), and A Sound of Laughter (1983). These deal with the complexities of supposedly ordinary lives and, like his later novel The Only Son (1984), are notable for their perceptive rendition of gender relations. His other fiction includes The Streets of Summer (1969), The Day before Tomorrow (1971), The King's Evil (1981), The Bishop (1986), A Post-card from Rome (1988), Old Wars (1989), a spy story, and Of Desire (1990). Helwig has worked as literary manager of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television and has written several radio plays, including You Can't Hear What I'm Saying (1978), Moving In (1980), and Everybody Has Something To Hide (1983).

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