Top Canadian Novelist David Gilmour Puts Down Women Writers, Is Attacked Online, Walks Back Remarks

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A Canadian novelist and literature professor is backtracking today after going total bro in an interview when he scoffed at female writers and said he’s interested only in books by “serious heterosexual guys — guy guys.”

In an interview with the online literary magazine Hazlitt, novelist David Gilmour (not to be confused with former Pink Floyd guitarist and singer David Gilmour), appeared to dismiss most writers who didn’t meet his standards of high-testosterone prose. And also, he isn’t a fan of the Chinese.

“I’m not interested in teaching books by women,” Gilmour, 63, told the journal. “When I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women.”

So what is it about female novelists that fails to incite Gilmour’s ardor?

“I teach only the best,” Gilmour said. He did mention that he appreciates the writing of Virginia Woolf and teaches one of her short stories.

As examples of the type of novels by "guy guys" that he will teach to his classes, he cited the erotic 1934 novel Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.

He also teaches “an even dirtier one,” The Dying Animal by Philip Roth which features, Gilmour said, scenes of “men eating menstrual pads.” He saves that book for the end of his course when students are “sophisticated” enough to appreciate such material, he told Hazlitt.

After coming in for widespread ridicule and attack on social media, Gilmour attempted to walk back his comments today.

“I’m not a politician, I’m a writer. We throw out tens of thousands of words every day. We usually rewrite them," Gilmour said, adding that “there isn’t a racist or sexist bone in my body.”

In an interview with Canada’s National Post, Gilmour said that his Hazlitt interviewer, a young woman, did not write down his comments. He also said that he was having a conversation in French on the phone while the interview was going on.

Gilmour’s latest novel, Extraordinary, has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s top literary award.

SOURCES: Hazlitt, CTV News, National Post