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David Gilmour was born in London, Ontario, in 1949. He grew up in Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood, and attended Upper Canada College in Toronto from 1959 to 1967. After being expelled from Upper Canada College after grade 12, he finished his last year of high school at Muskoka Lakes College. He then completed a degree in French Literature at the University of Toronto and the University of Toulouse, graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours BA in 1972. For several years after graduation Gilmour explored different pursuits, including acting, and subsequently completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto. Gilmour also did graduate work at Victoria College, University of Toronto, in Comparative Literature, studying under Northrop Frye. In 1980 he became managing editor for the Toronto Film Festival, serving in that role for four years. He was married to Anne Mackenzie during this period and had a daughter, Maggie. By 1985 he had married his second wife, actor Maggie Huculak; their son Jesse was born that year.
Gilmour’s first novel, Back on Tuesday, was published in 1986. Shortly thereafter, based on the critical success of his first book, he began working for the CBC as a film critic for The Journal, where he went on to review more than three hundred films. After being promoted to host of The Journal’s Friday night arts and entertainment segment in 1990, he became the host of his own CBC Newsworld show, Gilmour on the Arts, which won a Gemini Award in 1997. During this time Gilmour published his second novel, How Boys See Girls (1991). His third novel, An Affair with the Moon, was published in 1993. Gilmour on the Arts ran until 1997, at which time Gilmour left television to focus primarily on writing.
Gilmour worked with editor Dennis Lee on his fourth novel, Lost Between Houses (1999). It was a national bestseller, and was nominated for the Trillium Book Award. His fifth novel, Sparrow Nights was published in 2001, followed by his most successful and critically acclaimed book, A Perfect Night to Go to China (2005), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction, and has been published in Russian, French, Thai, Italian, French, Dutch, Bulgarian, Turkish and Serbian. In 2007 The Film Club, a non-fiction work about his relationship with his teenage son, received enthusiastic reviews and reached a wide readership.
Gilmour has been an arts contributor and reviewer for the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life, The Walrus, as well as other publications. He has also written screenplays and worked as a government speechwriter for Ministries of Industry, Trade and Technology, and of Citizenship and Culture; and written and narrated shows about Patrick Watson (2005) and William Hutt (2006) for CBC’s Life and Times, as well writing the profile of Michael Cohl (2006) for that program.
David Gilmour is married to Tina Gladstone and currently lives in Toronto’s Kensington Market.