In May 2009, Paul was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. From May 2009 to January 2010 he channeled his prodigious creative energy into the completion of many artistic endeavours, including his first solo CD release “Paul Quarrington: The Songs,” the third PorkBellys Futures CD release, his memoir “Cigar Box Banjo: Notes on Music and Life” for Greystone Books, the documentary film “Paul Quarrington: Life in Music” (BookShorts / CTV Bravo) and so much more.
His brave journey ended on January 21, 2010. He passed peacefully at home in Toronto surrounded by friends and family.
The Quarrington Arts Society has been established in honour of the inspiration Paul’s life and work continues to provide for artists who seek expression in many disciplines – for information about the organization and its mandate, please visit http://www.quarringtonartsociety.ca
Paul Quarrington was a musician, acclaimed non-fiction writer and novelist, an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, and an educator extra-ordinaire.
His novel The Ravine (2008) was long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; his previous novel Galveston (2004) was short-listed for the Giller. Quarrington won the Stephen Leacock Award for King Leary, a title that also won the 2008 Canada Reads competition. Whale Music won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and was one of several of his novels already adapted or currently being adapted as feature films.
His non-fiction writing includes books on some of his favourite pastimes such as fishing, hockey and music; his memoir Cigar Box Banjo: Notes on Music and Life, is published by Greystone Books (May 29, 2010). He regularly contributed book reviews, travel columns and journalism to Canada’s national newspapers and magazines, winning or co-winning more than 30 Gold awards. His screenplays and story editing won many awards, including the CFPTA Indie Award for Comedy for the series Moose TV.
Throughout his career he was in high demand as a story editor for Canadian and American feature films and television. Paul’s filmmaking talents as writer / director are evident in his BookShorts film, Pavane (2008), which he adapted from his novel The Ravine; it was featured in the national tour of Moving Stories Film Festival, won a Remi Platinum Award for adaptation at Houston’s WorldFest, was juried in several other US film festivals, and was broadcast in Canada on Bravo!FACT Presents and CBC Reflections.
As a musician, he played in the band Porkbelly Futures for more than ten years; the band’s first CD Way Past Midnight was extremely well received, their self-titled second CD was released to even more popular acclaim; and a third release will be available in 2010. From 2008, Paul increasingly returned to the performance circuit as solo vocalist on guitar; his first solo CD release “Paul Quarrington: The Songs” is available June 8, 2010 from Cordova Bay.
Paul taught creative writing at Humber College for more than 20 years (in the program founded by Joe Kertes, Quarrington and colleague Wayson Choy); he also taught at University of Toronto. His seminars on adapting books for the screen and creative writing were constantly presented by institutions and festivals in across Canada.
He sat on the Board of Directors for the Fringe Theatre Festival, and was mentor to BookShorts Inc. since the company’s first short film release (2005) through to the company’s production of Paul’s biographical feature documentary film Paul Quarrington: Life in Music (Dir. Bert Kish, for CTV Bravo) which will be broadcast May 29 and 30, 2010. Nipissing University bestowed him a Doctor of Letters PhD (posthumously) in June 2010.
Quarrington enjoyed his ranking as an (extremely) amateur magician and would-be mariner. He is survived by his two children, Carson Lara and Flannery Quarrington.
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