June 1, 1948
Jamaica, New York
|Died||April 14, 2014
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
Crad Kilodney (June 1, 1948 – April 14, 2014) was the pen name of Lou Trifon, a Canadian-American writer who lived in Toronto, Ontario, and was best known for selling his self-published titles such as Bloodsucking Monkeys from North Tonawanda, Suburban Chicken-strangling Stories and Putrid Scum on the streets of the city.
Born in Jamaica, New York to a Greek family, Kilodney obtained a degree in astronomy from the University of Michigan, but instead of working in that field he took a job at Exposition Press, a self-publishing vanity press based in Hicksville, New York. Many of his experiences in that job, and with vanity publishing in general, shaped his outlook on fiction and provided him with material for many stories. The stories "Three Dead Men" and "A Moment of Silence for Man Ray" (both in Girl on the Subway) are examples of this.
Disgusted by Watergate and U.S. culture generally, Kilodney moved to Canada where he worked at a number of other book publishers, mostly in their stockrooms, and while doing so decided that it might be best to reach people by publishing his books (under his own Charnel House imprint) and selling them face-to-face on the street. This he did from 1978 through 1995, and published 32 books in this manner. Kilodney could generally be found, and indeed was a fixture, on Yonge Street, at the University Of Toronto downtown campus and in front of the Toronto Stock Exchange building with a cardboard sign hanging from his neck, holding a book he was selling.
In 1991 Kilodney was charged with selling commercial goods without a license, making him the only Canadian writer ever charged for selling his own writing. At various times he kept a tape recorder with him and recorded quite a bit of bizarre byplay between himself and prospective customers; the tapes ("On The Street With Crad Kilodney" Vols 1, 2, and 3) are compilation recordings. They are extremely rare and are collector's items (much as original printings of his books are).
Vol. 3 (a 90-minute cassette) is from 1991. "Dub 154" of this tape, a representative example, includes photocopied typewritten notes detailing the recording process, transfer technique and equipment used. Kilodney handwrote with ballpoint pen on the cassette jacket as well. Side A has 11 recordings, Side B 16 recordings; four of the recordings are answering machine messages, and the rest are the famous surreptitious encounters with people wondering why this man has a sign around his neck. "Excrement" and "Putrid Scum", as well as several of his stories (such as "Henry", featured in Girl on the Subway) are also inspired by these experiences.
Kilodney mentioned that while most writers are inspired by conventionally great literature, he drew inspiration from the exact opposite: the slush pile, the crank letter, and of course the vanity press. He was, however, not interested in being seen as a crank or an eccentric, but simply wanted to find respectable, legitimate work as a writer and be taken seriously for doing so.
Kilodney has written for a variety of publications, Canadian and otherwise, such as Only Paper Today, 'What' (a literary magazine), and Rustler (for which he wrote a monthly column at one point). According to information on his unofficial website, he also wrote the first unsolicited short story ever accepted by National Lampoon.
He retired from writing books in 1995. A fanbased website, run by Syd Allan, featured occasional new material up until 2004. From April 2008 until a few months before his death, new satirical articles were posted on his blog.
In 1997, Toronto Hardcore Band (and long time supporters of the Independent DIY ethos) Armed & Hammered released a song on their CD "It's About Fucking TIme" called "Crad Kilodney Was Innocent". This was pre-dated by an earlier recording of "Crad Kilodney Was Innocent" which was released on a 7" single vinyl record in the early 1990s.
Kilodney died of cancer on April 14, 2014 at the age of 66. The day after his death and at his request, his friend, artist Lorette C. Luzajic, launched the Crad Kilodney Literary Foundation, a website dedicated to preserving and promoting his works.
Short Story Collections
Most of these collections contain 3 to 8 stories, and are between 34 and 80 pages in length. Lightning Struck My Dick is over 100 pages, and contains 18 stories. Strong Meat, issued posthumously, is almost 400 pages.
- Mental Cases (1978)
- World Under Anaesthesia (1979)
- Gainfully Employed in Limbo (1980)
- Lightning Struck My Dick (1980)
- Human Secrets - Book One (1981)
- Human Secrets - Book Two (1982)
- Sex Slaves Of The Astro-Mutants (1982)
- Pork College (1984)
- Bang Heads Here, Suffering Bastards! (1984)
- The Orange Book: The Bent Humour of Crad Kilodney (1984)
- The Blue Book: The Eccentric Humour of Crad Kilodney (1985)
- The Green Book: The Polymorphus Humour of Crad Kilodney (1985)
- The Yellow Book: The Outlandish Humour of Crad Kilodney (1985)
- The Scarlet Book: The Flame-Broiled Humour of Crad Kilodney (1985)
- Incurable Trucks & Speeding Diseases (1986)
- Simple Stories For Idiots (1986)
- Nice Stories for Canadians (1988)
- I Chewed Mrs. Ewing's Raw Guts (1988)
- Blood Sucking Monkeys from North Tonawanda (1989)
- Junior Brain Tumours in Action (1990)
- Suburban Chicken Strangling Stories (1992)
- Strong Meat (assorted on-line writing, 1988-2013) (2015)
- Terminal Ward (1983)
- Cathy (1985)
- Foul Pus From Dead Dogs (1986)
- Excrement (1988)
- Putrid Scum (1991)
Anthologies of previously collected stories
Black Moss Press issued two anthologies, each around 100 pages, of Kilodney's 'selected stories'. These were the only Kilodney volumes generally available for sale in bookstores.
- Malignant Humors (1988) (13 stories, dating between 1978-1985)
- Girl on the Subway and other stories (1990) (11 stories, dating between 1979-1988)
- Worst Canadian Stories, Vol. 1 (1987)
- Worst Canadian Stories, Vol. 2 (1987)
- The First Charnel House Anthology of Bad Poetry (1989)
- The Second Charnel House Anthology of Bad Poetry (1992)
- Prose Political (1977) (18-page booklet, as Louis Trifon, with Mick Rawsterne and George Cairncross)
- Levin, Martin (May 10, 2014). "Obituary: A connoisseur of the bizarre, Crad Kilodney railed against hypocrisy of the world". Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
- "Cult literary figure Crad Kilodney dies". CBC News. April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Fiorito, Joe (April 30, 2014). "Author Crad Kilodney was a cranky and courageous fixture on Toronto streets". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 1, 2014.