Watch an excerpt from the Canadian movie classic The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. From YouTube.
Mordecai Richler published hundreds of journalistic pieces in a wide range of publications in Canada, the US and Britain, including columns in the NATIONAL POST and the MONTREAL GAZETTE. He published selections in Hunting Tigers Under Glass (1968, Governor General's Literary Award, Fiction and Essays), Shovelling Trouble (1972), Notes on an Endangered Species (1974), The Great Comic Book Heroes (1978), Home Sweet Home: My Canadian Album (1984), Broadsides (1991) and Belling the Cat (1998). A lifelong sports fan, he published essays devoted to sport in 2002's Dispatches from the Sporting Life, and his last book was On Snooker (2001), a loving look at the game and the characters associated with it. He also wrote an extended foreword to accompany Peter Christopher's photographs in Images of Spain (1977), and the travel memoir This Year in Jerusalem (1994). As an anthologist, his works include The Best of Modern Humour (1986), Writers on World War II (1991), and The Penguin Book of Literary Feuds and Insults (1995).
As a satirist, Mordecai Richler was often a controversial figure, insistent upon interrogating the people, cultures and values surrounding him, exposing their hypocrisies and foibles with wit and passion. One of Canada's best-known writers, he criticized the Canadian literary establishment for its reliance on government funding and what he saw as an often parochial, narrow scope. A member of Montreal's JEWISH community, he created portraits of it that alternate between affection and ridicule, adding his distinctive voice to the tradition of self-reflective JEWISH WRITING in North America crafted by contemporaries like Saul Bellow and Philip Roth. An often stinging opponent of both Canadian and Quebecois nationalism throughout his lifetime, he published Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! Requiem for a Divided Country in 1992.
Just as the worlds of film and television production often appear within his novels, Richler's work has frequently been adapted for those media. Richler wrote the screenplays for the film adaptations of his novels THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ (1974; co-written with Lionel Chetwynd; nominated for an Academy Award) and Joshua Then and Now (1985), both directed by Richler's friend Ted Kotcheff. Richler also contributed to the adaptation of St. Urbain's Horseman (2007) as a television miniseries. Richler was working on a script for BARNEY'S VERSION when he died; the film appeared in 2010, winning several GENIE AWARDS and Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards. Earlier in his career, Richler also wrote scripts for Life at the Top (1965) and Fun with Dick and Jane (1977; co-written with Jerry Belson and David Giler). His children's book Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang was made into a movie in 1999.
Mordecai Richler's many awards include 3 Governor General's Literary Awards (2 in 1968, 1 in 1971), the Scotiabank Giller Prize (1997), the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour (1998), the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (1990; 1998 Canada and the Caribbean), and a Screenwriters Guild of America Award (1974). His writing for children earned him the CLA Book of the Year for Children (1976), the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award (1976), and the Mr. Christie's Book Award (1995). Richler was made a Companion of the ORDER OF CANADA in 2001, shortly before his death.
Author VICTOR RAMRAJ Revised: SUSANNE MARSHALL
George Woodcock, Mordecai Richler (1970); G. David Sheps, Mordecai Richler (1971); Victor J. Ramraj, Mordecai Richler (1983); Arnold E. Davidson, Mordecai Richler (Literature and Life) (1983); Michael E. Darling, ed, Perspectives on Mordecai Richler (1986); Rachel Brenner, The Formative Influence of the Holocaust in the Writings of Mordecai Richler (1986); Ada Craniford, Fiction and Fact in Mordecai Richler's Novels (1992); Claude Boulay, L'impérialisme Canadian: chevalier servant, Mordecai Richler (1995); William Weintraub, ed, Getting Started: A Memoir of the 1950s, with Letters from Mordecai Richler, Mavis Gallant and Brian Moore (2001); Joel Yanofsky, Mordecai and Me: An Appreciation of a Kind (2003); Michael Posner, The Last Honest Man: An Oral Biography (2004); Reinhold Kramer, Mordecai Richler: Leaving St. Urbain (2008); M.G. Vassanji, Mordecai Richler (2009); Charles Foran, Mordecai: The Life and Times (2010; Charles Taylor Prize).
Links to Other Sites
Mordecai Richler's homecoming
Watch a 1975 CBC Television interview with Canadian author Mordecai Richler, who discusses his life, work, and affection for his old Montréal neighbourhood. See also additional radio and television clips on Richler. From the CBC Digital Archives.
A profile of acclaimed Canadian author Mordecai Richler from Random House of Canada. Also features synopses of some of his works.
Type in the name of a personality or other key words to access audio clips from classic CBC radio plays and other popular programs.
Face to Face: The Canadian Personalities Hall
"Face to Face" features outstanding Canadians whose ideas and contributions have transformed this country. Click on the photos in "Meet the Personalities" to see their biographies. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Click on the brief profiles of "extraordinary Canadians" and the authors who wrote about them in this Penguin Group (Canada) series. Also includes bios of artists who created the cover art for each book.
Coming soon: Much more Mordecai
A news story about renewed interest in the works of iconic Canadian writer Mordecai Richler. From thestar.com.
Review Essay: Richler's Biographies
A review of Charles Foran's "Mordecai: The Life & Times" and other biographies of popular writer Mordecai Richler from canlit.ca.
Mordecai Richler writes the literary scandal of the season
A video of a 1992 CBC News story about the controversy that greeted the publication of Mordecai Richler's non-fiction work "Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!"
Watch the trailer for the movie Barney's Version, based on the novel of the same name by Mordecai Richler. From YouTube.
This award-winning animated film offers a poignant interpretation of a short story by Mordecai Richler. It examines how people respond to older members of their family. From the National Film Board of Canada.
A profile of legendary Canadian author Mordecai Richler from Canada's Walk of Fame.
Mordecai Richler: A Life in Ten Novels
See online excerpts from Ada Craniford's "Mordecai Richler: A Life in Ten Novels," described as an "entertaining journey through the secrets behind Mordecai Richler's novel writing." From Google Books.