143 Dunn Avenue,      
January 15, 1928       

Dear Mr. Smith:

     I do not know whether I replied to your last letter or not; or perhaps mine was the most recent. Anyway I hope -- for my own purpose -- that you have not gone abroad yet, though I hope you have your scholarship.

     My problem is this: I am editing a volume of CANADIAN SHORT STORIES, for Macmillan this Spring, and it occurs to me that I found two or three very creditable tales in the copies of the [McGill] Fortnightly Review which you sent me. I thought that in view of your connection with the paper you might be able to recall some one or two outstanding things in this line and that you might be able to get me a copy of them, which I would return promptly. I have three or four new and emergent men, but of course if I can find more and better, I shall be glad.

     This anthology takes in the whole sweep of Canadian short fiction; and in the cases of well-known writers who have written a few good things and much bunkum, the difficulty is great, not of making my own choice but one which will not be assailed by others. However, that may be left to take care of itself. I think the average level will be quite high.

     There seems at present no hope for our group magazine, does there? You are going abroad, Pratt writes long poems which he wishes to bring out as separate books1 [Wilson] MacDonald will [do] nothing with Pratt, Mazo de la Roche has her prize,2 Morley Callaghan expects to publish in Scribner's, 3 and I have sundry plans, not to mention a wife. Macmillans are bring[ing] out a novel, White Narcissus in the Fall, but I would like to start another.

     I have my doubts of Graphic for you, or any other Canadian publisher judging from the stuffthey do print. If you liked though you might send me your book and I might get a hearing for it with Macmillans.

With best wishes,               


[V] TLS Thomas Fischer Rare Book Room, Univ. of Toronto Library marginalia: whom this dishevelled missive (the rest is not decipherable; written in longhand by Knister).

  1. E.J. Pratt published Rachel. A Story of the Sea in Verse. (Nesv York: privately printed [1915?1) 15 pp. The Witches' Brew. (London: Selywyn & Blount, 1925) 32 pp. Titans. (London: Macmillan, 1926). 67 pp. and The Iron Door. An Ode. (Toronto: Macmillan, 1927.) 30 pp. all long poems as separate books during this period.[back]
  2. Mazo de la Roche won the Atlantic Monthly award of ten thousand dollars for her novel, Jalna.[back]
  3. Scribner's, the publisher of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, published Strange Fugitive by Morley Callaghan in 1928 and A Native Argosy. (New York: Scribner's, 1929) 371 pp. Callaghan continued to publish books with Scribner's: It's Never Over. (New York: Scribner's, 1930) 225 pp. A Broken Journey. (New York: Scribner's, 1932) 270 pp. Such Is My Beloved. (New York: Scribner's 1934) 288 pp.[back]