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The Case of the Generous Mystery Writer

Author donates her manuscripts to Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

The mystery of how a writer develops a first draft into a polished novel may become clearer now that suspense author Joy Fielding (BA 1966 UC) has donated the manuscripts of 13 of her books to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

Fielding, who admits she has saved virtually every piece of paper from her celebrated career, has included publisher’s notes, correspondence and fan mail with her gift. “The comments from editors and my own notes together show the evolution of a career,” she says. “It made giving up all of that material, saved over so many years, a little difficult to do.” But Fielding, who lives part time in Toronto, says donating the collection to U of T is not only rewarding, but gives her an excuse to come back to campus. “I can go visit the collection any time I want,” she says.

The material is expected to be of interest to aspiring writers, as well as scholars of Canadian writing. “We collect Canadian literary manuscripts from about 30 authors,” says Anne Dondertman, assistant director of the Fisher library. “Joy’s manuscripts provide a wealth of interesting primary documentation.”

Fielding’s books, which include bestsellers such as The First Time, Whispers and Lies and See Jane Run, have been translated into more than 20 languages. Four of her novels have been made into movies. Fielding has also been an actor; she appeared in about 20 campus productions while attending U of T. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles and landed a role in a 1968 episode of the television series Gunsmoke.

“I started writing when I was a child and it evolved over the years, though interestingly I didn’t read a lot,” she says. “In high school I read what I had to but deep down I always knew that I would be a writer. I loved telling stories.”

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