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Thursday November 11, 2010

Co-founder of Tamarack Review nurtured Canadian writers

Publisher and editor Ivon Maclean Owen died early on Wednesday, Nov. 10, of complications from Alzheimer's and lung disease. He was 87. Owen, who was born in Toronto on June 24, 1923, was educated at Upper Canada College and Trinity College at the University of Toronto. He served at the Wartime Information Board during the Second World War. From the late 1940s until the mid 1970s he worked at Oxford University Press, then one of the primary publishers of poetry, educational and non-fiction books in this country. During Owen's tenure as chief editor and manager, OUP published, among many other titles, Margaret Atwood's early volume of poetry, The Animals in That Country, as well as Modern Canadian Verse, ed. by A.J.M. Smith.

With Robert Weaver, an acquaintance from university days, and others, including Kildare Dobbs and William Toye, he founded The Tamarack Review in 1956. Until its demise in 1982, Tamarack was the pre-eminent literary periodical in Canada. It published early stories by Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler and Timothy Findley.

After retiring from OUP, Owen worked as a book reviewer and a freelance editor for magazines, newspapers and publishers including Saturday Night, The Financial Times and Hurtig. Predeceased by his former wife, Patricia Heighington and his son Trevor Owen, he is survived by his son, journalist Gerald Owen, his brother Trevor Owen and his extended family. The funeral service is planned for Trinity College Chapel on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

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