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Anne Giardini is the boss

Though novelists who are also doctors (Chekhov, Maugham, Vincent Lam) get the most attention, there have been a few creative writers who have occupied lofty positions in the business world, too. Criminally underrated novelist Henry Green, for example, owned and ran a factory.

Aaannnd, that’s about all we can think of right now. (Feel free to suggest others in the comments.)

The Globe and Mail does bring to light a much more contemporary example of a writer-executive: Anne Giardini, author of Advice for Italian Boys, and, as of last fall, president of Weyerhaeuser Co..

From the Globe Q&A with Giardini:

Are you a weekend writer?

Do you write in hotel rooms?

And airplanes. First, I catch up on whatever reading I have, and then my reward is to do a bit of writing.

Is there something about you that likes precision – in law and in prose?

I think that’s true, and the two careers reinforce each other. I’ve always believed that language in the wrong hands can be dangerous, and it’s a powerful tool both for law and for creative writing.


Will you eventually move into full-time writing?

I think I would hate that. What would worry me is the tyranny of the empty page. I can ignore that now because I’m busy at work. I really believe I do my best writing when I’m working on other things – so that when I come to write, I’ve worked a lot of it through. I have what I want to say fully formed. It more or less cooks on the back burner.

Your mother must have been proud to see a child become a writer.

I would think. Sadly, she died before my first book came out, but I think she felt confident there would be one.

NB: That last question is not a complete non sequitur – Giardini’s mother was the late Carol Shields.

  • Rolf Maurer

    Don’t forget Wallace Stevens, who was a vice-president? of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company. (His wife Elsie was model for the nice lady on the US Liberty dime that circulated until WW2.)

  • Faith Jones

    Ab Cahan is usually referred to as a journalist, but in fact he ran a large media empire (the Forverts newspaper, the radio station WEVD, and their significant Manhattan real estate holdings)–while writing Yekl and The Rise of David Levinsky on the side.

  • Alex

    T. S. Eliot worked at a bank, but I don’t think he was especially successful (or especially happy!)

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Hall of Honourers

Brandon Wint

Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Eva Stachniak poses with a copy of her book, Empress of the Night

Tea and snacks inspired by Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Rimma Burashko with author Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak talks to the audience about the best and worst of Catherine the Great's favourites

Eva Stachniak smiles as she signs a copy of Empress of the Night for a fan

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