In 1998, Adam Gilders, a Canadian writer, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Before his death in 2007 at the age of thirty-six, he wrote close to two hundred stories. Though Gilders’s fiction has been featured in The Paris Review and The Walrus, two of his friends, Jason Fulford and Leanne Shapton, decided to publish a more comprehensive book of Gilders’s writing under their independent imprint, J&L Books. Together, with Geoffrey Bainbridge, Miranda Purves, John Zilcosky, and Adam’s mother, Carla Gilders, they edited Another Ventriloquist, which debuts this Saturday, May 7, at the J&L FUNdraiser. We spoke to Jason and Leanne about the book.
Another Ventriloquist is an unnervingly good read. Can you talk about the status of the book when Adam died of a brain tumor in 2007? Had any of his friends discussed with him the possibility of gathering his writing into a book?
He never talked about publishing a collection of his stories. That was all our idea.
When he died, he had around two hundred unpublished pieces on his computer. One of the first conversations we had with his mother and friends after the funeral was about needing to get his stories collected and published. We never even knew he wrote so much. He was very critical of his own work and most of it he would have never brought forward for publication, especially not the older pieces or funny stuff like “Michael Douglas.” This is the one silver lining we can see to the situation—we get to read all these stories.