Lorne Pierce

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Lorne Albert Pierce (3 August 1890 - 27 November 1961) was a Canadian publisher, editor, and literary critic who published and promoted Canadian literature for more than forty years during his tenure as editor of Toronto's Ryerson Press. A committed nationalist who saw literature as an important aspect of Canada's cultural development in the mid-twentieth century, Pierce lent his name to the Lorne Pierce Medal, established in 1926 to honor writers, critics, and educators for their outstanding contributions to the development of Canadian literature and culture.

Among the many writers whom Pierce fostered at Ryerson Press were Frederick Philip Grove, E. J. Pratt, A.J.M. Smith, Louis Dudek, A. M. Klein, P. K. Page, Dorothy Livesay, Earle Birney and Marjorie Pickthall. Along with novels and poetry, Ryerson also published important anthologies and books of literary criticism. Beginning in 1927 he edited the series of Ryerson books of prose and verse, which brought Canadian literature into Canadian school classrooms, and he was the author of critical studies of Pickthall and the early Canadian novelist William Kirby.


The Lorne Pierce Medal remains an important award for the recognition of excellence in Canadian literature and criticism. After Pierce's death, his large collection of Canadian literary first editions was bequeathed to Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where it has been expanded and remains a significant repository of rare Canadian books.



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