John Glassco
(1909 – 1981)

November 27th, 2009

The first writer to be honoured, John Glassco, was born just blocks from the church to a wealthy Montreal family. At age 18, he famously set sail for Paris, a time he would record – somewhat unreliably – in his best-known work, Memoirs of Montparnasse (1970). Though he lived in semi-reclusive existence for much of his adult life, Glassco played an important role in laying down the foundation of modern translation in Canada. His Complete Poems of Saint-Denys-Garneau (1975) was awarded the Canada Council Translation Award, Glassco created a remarkably diverse body of work that includes his completion of Aubrey Beardsley’s unfinished novel Under the Hill (1959) and Selected Poems (1971), for which he received a Governor General’s Award.

John Glassco had strong ties to St James the Apostle. The church in which his parents were married, as a child Glassco was a member of the congregation. Though he settled in the Eastern Townships, for many years Glassco maintained a pied-à-terre just south of the church on Bishop Street, He was twice married in the St. James the Apostle – to Elma Koolmer (1918-1971) and Marion McCormick (1924-2004). His funeral took place at the church on 2 February 1981.

Further information about the life and works of John Glassco:
- The Canadian Encyclopedia entry
- Wikipedia entry


Contact Us | ©2003-2023 Writer's Chapel Trust