NEWS

Mordecai Richler's writing desk has a new home

11/28/2013 09:51 EST | Updated 01/28/2014 05:59 EST
Concordia University unveiled a new room that features some of the furniture, papers and private items that belonged to Montreal author Mordecai Richler.

The Mordecai Richler Reading Room is lined with floor-to-ceiling shelves that are filled with thousands of his books.

In the middle of the room, one of Richler's many manual typewriters is in the centre of the desk, where Richler wrote some of his most famous novels, including Barney's Version.

Various mementoes are neatly arranged on the desk.

"They didn't clean it though, it still has the original tea stains. But it doesn't have the cigar ash, which is odd," said Jacob Richler, who was at the event to inaugurate the room dedicated to his late father.

"According to my research, no other university has ever posthumously honoured one of its dropouts," he said.

Richler dropped out of Sir George Williams, in the years before it merged to become Concordia.

Now, the university is home to the contents of Richler's library and office from the family's cottage in the Eastern Townships.

Since his death in July 2001, Richler's books have continued to sell.

Barney's Version was made into a feature film.

Jacob Two-Two has become an animated TV series, and audio books are being done using some of Canada's top actors.

"If we can help preserve Mordecai's legacy, this will set a valuable precedent for other writers," said Michael Levine, lawyer for the Richler literary estate. 

Concordia will use the Reading Room as a gathering place for literary readings and master classes.

The family hopes it will enrich Richler's literary legacy.

"I think certainly his very life would instill interest in them. Mordecai was so adventurous, and if there are a few more iconoclasts around, it wouldn't be a bad thing," his wife Florence Richler said.

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