Skip to main content

Canadian author Robert Kroetsch, whose fanciful tale of an Alberta man travelling the countryside with his stud horse won a Governor General's award, has died in a car accident.

RCMP confirm the 83-year-old was killed in a crash that happened at a rural intersection southeast of Edmonton near Leduc on Tuesday. Police say five other people were injured, one critically.

"He was a great storyteller and great listener and very generous and a warm-hearted person," said Linda Cameron of the University of Alberta Press, Kroetsch's last publisher.

Story continues below advertisement

"He had the ability to make you feel like you were the only person around while he was talking with you."

Kroetsch was perhaps best known for his 1969 novel The Studhorse Man, which won the Governor General's Literary Award.

The book details the often fantastical adventures of wily Hazard Lepage and his quest to preserve the bloodline of his rare blue stallion. The book is part tall tale and part mythical journey set in barns, beer halls and bathtubs and helped move Prairie fiction resolutely away from the dour realism of a previous generation of writers.

Kroetsch followed that up with 1973's Gone Indian and 1975's Badlands.

Born in Heisler in central Alberta, Kroetsch graduated from the University of Alberta, then worked in the Canadian North, several western provinces and the United States before he returned to Alberta, where he lived in a retirement community in Leduc.

"I spent many years travelling around the world, but I never left Alberta," Kroetsch said earlier this year. "It has always been a country of my imagination. I love the stories, the landscape and the people."

He published nine books of fiction, 14 books of poetry and seven non-fiction works.

Story continues below advertisement

"I would characterize Robert as a western voice, because I think the voice is different in different parts of the country," Cameron said.

"Robert told us stories about ourselves and where we are from, and everybody could identify with some of Robert's stories and his poetry."

Kroetsch was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 2004 and, earlier this year, received the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award.

Cameron said Kroetsch was writing right up until his death and has left at least one work in progress. Cameron said she was to meet with him later this week about his latest manuscript, a novella.

"Right now that is not anything we are thinking about," she said. "But it is one of those things that, somewhere down the road, there might be an opportunity ... to celebrate Robert's life appropriately."

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter