Callaghan, Barry, 1937-

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Callaghan, Barry, 1937-

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1937-

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Barry Callaghan (journalist, poet, literary critic, novelist, film maker, teacher, editor, publisher, and translator) was born in Toronto on 5 July 1937 to prominent Canadian author Morley Callaghan and Loretto (Dee) Callaghan. He grew up in the Annex, showing a particular aptitude for music and sports. The family moved to Rosedale in 1951, and within three years, Callaghan was exploring the night life of Yonge Street and Porters Hall on College Street, the city's only Black dance hall; these experiences would play an important role in his short stories and poems. Callaghan enjoyed success as a basketball player, a sport that took him to Assumption College (now the University of Windsor). By 1957 he had written his first poem, "The outhouse," which was published in the college's magazine. He joined Canadian Press (Broadcast News) as a reporter for the summer of 1958. After selling his short story, "The muscle," to CBC Radio Windsor in early 1959 and spending the summer reporting for CBC's television news, Callaghan enrolled in St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. He earned his Master's degree in 1963, a year that also included regular appearances on CBC Radio to discuss books, and his marriage to Nina Rabchuck. He moved back to television in 1964, joining "Show on shows" (later known as "The umbrella") hosted by abstract expressionist painter William Ronald. His work for the show included interviews with several prominent writers, such as Marie-Claire Blais, Margaret Laurence, John Updike, and Patrick Kavanaugh. His first article of literary criticism on the work of Laurence was published in "Tamarack review" in 1965, when he left the doctoral program at the University of Toronto to accept a position as lecturer with Atkinson College at York University. Callaghan wrote and performed in the film, "The blues," featuring live performances by several musicians including Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry during 1966 and 1967. His involvement with mass media expanded in 1967, when he was appointed literary editor for "The Toronto telegram," one of the city's daily newspapers. Callaghan travelled across the country with Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1968, leading to an extensive article in the "Telegram." Callaghan regularly appeared on television at this time, co-hosting "The public eye" with Peter Jennings, Norman Dapoe, and Jean Sauve. His career expanded into film making in 1969. Works include documentaries on social and political change in Quebec and the Chicago Eight (later Seven) trial. Films on Israel, the Black September War and Palestine, an interview with Golda Meir where Callaghan challenged Israeli policies, and an interview with Angela Davis (charged with conspiracy and murder due to her connections with the Black Panther Party) led to strong reactions; he was fired by the CBC, compelled to resign from the "Telegram," and experienced difficulty gaining tenure at York University in 1971. Harry Crowe, Dean of Atkinson College, successfully championed Callaghan's pursuit of a continuing appointment, and provided support and initial funding for Callaghan to start "Exile : the literary quarterly." His visit to Israel in 1969 also led to his involvement with Israeli actress Saya Lyran, which gave inspiration for "The Hogg poems and drawings" published in 1978. He subsequently became involved with CBC researcher and artist Claire Weissman Wilks, whose book of drawings was the first title published by Callaghan's Exile Editions in 1976. After a film making visit to South Africa later that year that included his imprisonment by secret police and expulsion, Callaghan's career focused on writing short stories and articles for "Toronto life" and "Punch" magazines, translating nine books of poetry and prose by writers such as Robert Marteau and Miodrag Pavlovic, appearing on CTV's "Canada AM" until 1979, when he became host of CITY TV's "Firing line" and "Enterprise," publishing his own poetry, writing a memoir, "Barrelhouse kings" (1998), revisiting work he had written between 1964 and 2004 through two volumes of collected essays, "Raise you five" (2005) and "Raise you ten" (2006), and nurturing an appreciation for horse racing. He won several awards for his creative work, including National Magazine Awards, an ACTRA award for best television host, the CBC Award for fiction, an International Authors Festival Literary Award, and the Toronto Arts Award for Writing. His work received considerable international attention, leading to invitations to lecture in Europe and Cuba, and his appointment as Writer in Residence at the University of Rome in 1989. Several of his books have been translated into seven languages including French, Italian, and Croatian. Callaghan retired from York University in 2003, and transferred control of "Exile : the literary quarterly" and Exile Editions to his son, Michael, in 2005 and 2006.

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