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Watson Kirkconnell is one of the most familiar figures in the world of Canadian letters. Educated at Queen's and Oxford, he has published several volumes of poetry and poetry translations, was the founding father and first chairman of the Humanities Research Council, a charter member and national president (1942-44, 1956-58) of the Canadian Authors Association, and has shared in university life for 45 years.
He has been active in many other areas of public life; as one of the founders of the Prisoners' Aid Society (now the John Howard Society of Manitoba), a joint organizer of the Citizenship Branch, Ottawa, a founder and first president of the Canadian-Polish Society, as well as the Baptist Federation of Canada of which he was national president (1953-56). In widespread recognition of his work in these many fields Dr. Kirkonnell has received twelve honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, the United States, Hungary, and Germany, knighthoods from Poland and Iceland, and numerous awards from other countries.
The chronicle of such a full and active career offers a valuable look at many aspects of Canadian life: in his memoirs Dr. Kirkonnell has avoided a merely chronological arrangement of his autobiography but sought rather to take various phases of the Canadian tradition and to analyse his experience of each down through the years. This Slice of Canada demonstrates the author's discerning faculty of observation and his close involvement, not only with the arts, but with education, religion, politics and other areas of Canadian life.