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Morley Callaghan

Morley Edward Callaghan (February 22, 1903 - August 25,1990), novelist, short story writer, playwright, TV and radio personality.

Callaghan grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, his birthplace. He was educated at the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School. He never practiced law, however. During the 1920s he worked at the Toronto Daily Star where he became friends with fellow reporter, Ernest Hemingway formerly of the Kansas City Star. Callaghan began writing stories that were well received and soon was recognized as one of the best short story writers of the day. He then spent a couple of creative years in Paris, France in the late 1920s where he was part of the great gathering of writers in Montparnasse such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce and others.

He recalled these years in his 1963 memoir, That Summer in Paris. In this memoir he discusses the infamous boxing match between him and Hemingway. Callaghan took up Hemingway's challange to a bout and, being a better boxer, Callaghan knocked Hemingway to the ground (along with his ego). The blame was centered on Fitzgerald's lack of attention on the stop watch as he let the boxing round go over time. This event injured the pride of Hemingway more than anything else.

Callaghan's novels and short stories are marked by undertones of Roman Catholicism, often focusing on individuals whose essential characteristic is a strong but often weakened sense of self. His first novels were Strange Fugitive (1928), a number of short stories followed in A Native Argosy (1929), A Broken Journey (1932) and Such Is My Beloved (1934). Callaghan published little between 1937 and 1950 - an artistically dry period. However, during these years, many non-fiction articles were written in various periodicals such as New World [Toronto], and National Home Monthly. Luke Baldwin's Vow, about a boy and his dog, was originally published in the Saturday Evening Post in (1947) and would soon become a juvenile classic read in school rooms around the world. The Loved and the Lost (1951) is considered by many to be his masterpiece among many fine imaginative novels for which he won the Governor General's Award. Callaghan's later works include The Many Colored Coat (1960), A Passion in Rome (1961), Stories (1967), A Fine and Private Place (1975), A Time for Judas (1983), Our Lady of the Snows (1985) and his last novel, A Wild Old Man Down the Road (1988). Publications of short stories have appeared in The Lost and Found Stories of Morley Callaghan (1985), and in The New Yorker Stories (2001). The latest work Morley Callaghan: The Complete Short Stories Two Volumes (2003) gathers for the first time '90 stories that authenticate Edmund Wilson's comparison of Callaghan to Ivan Turgenev and Anton Chekhov.'

Callaghan married Loretto Dee, with whom he had two sons: Michael (born November 1931) and Barry (born 1937), poet and author. In (1998) Barry Callaghan wrote a memoir entitled Barrelhouse Kings about his families writerly life. After outliving and outwriting most of this contemporary writers of his day Morley Edward Callaghan died after a brief illness in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was 87.

Morley Callaghan was the subject of CBC documentary, Life & Times episode, and CBC mini-series, Hemingway Vs. Callaghan in March 2003.


Also author of the play Just Ask George, 1940. Contributor to [[Sixteen by Twelve: Short Stories by Canadian Writers]], edited by John Metcalf, Ryerson (Toronto), 1970. Also contributor of The New Yorker, Harper's Bazaar, Maclean's, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, Yale Review, New World, Performing Arts in Canada, and Twentieth Century Literature.

Media Adaptations: Now That April's Here was adapted for film by Klenman-Davidson Productions, 1958.

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PERIODICALS Further readings Source: Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2001 in database: Contemporary Authors