A Celebration of Virgil Duff

by Elizabeth Glenn on December 7, 2010

Yesterday, University of Toronto Press honoured the end of an era. After over forty years in publishing, and thirty years at University of Toronto Press, Executive Editor Virgil Duff is retiring.

Last night’s event, held at the University of Toronto, was a celebration of Virgil Duff’s life and career in publishing. In his 30 years at UTP, Virgil has published approximately 1000 books, worked with countless authors, and has championed freedom of speech. In a Quill & Quire article about Virgil, Carolyn Wood, Association of Canadian Publishers’ executive director says, “[Exploring] these areas that were often considered taboo within scholarly publishing – such as sexual orientation issues and gender politics – Virgil was always a champion of those books.”

Recalling his speech on Monday night, Virgil said “Looking down on those faces reminded me what a privileged life I have led, what wonderful colleagues I have worked with, what a wonderful family I have, what distinguished authors we have all had the privilege of working with!”

Andy Orchard hosted the event, with speeches from John Yates, Jim Penton, and Nick Pashley.

Quill & Quire’s article about Virgil’s retirement was posted yesterday. In their interview with Virgil he describes himself as a ‘“tabloid scholarly publisher,” [who] attributes most of his accomplishments to his UTP colleagues, saying simply that he is “proud of being able to have published so many books [and] explore new regions.”’
There will be a follow-up piece in January’s print edition with photos from last night’s event.

We wish Virgil all the best in his retirement, and congratulate him on a wonderful and successful career in publishing.

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