It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tundra Books founder, May Cutler at the age of 87. May passed away at her home in Montreal, surrounded by her family after battling several illnesses.
May’s accomplishments were remarkable, and after completing an MA in journalism from Columbia University, she worked for the United Nations, then as a journalist and later taught in the English department at McGill where she set up a three-year extension program in journalism. She also served as the first female mayor of Westmount from 1987-1991.
But we will always know her as the founder of Tundra Books, which she ran for almost 30 years. May was a visionary, and her passion for the arts and creating children’s books as works of art was evident in titles by renowned artists such as William Kurelek, Ted Harrison, Arthur Shilling, Song Nan Zhang, and many others. She is also responsible for the discovery of the incomparable Dayal Kaur Khalsa, who admired her publisher so much that she named the heroine of her books May.
May worked with author Roch Carrier and filmmaker Sheldon Cohen, when they teamed up to create one of Tundra’s perennial favorites, The Hockey Sweater. She also introduced Mohawk artist C. J. Taylor and the legends of the continent’s aboriginal peoples to children across the country.
May’s legacy is lasting. Every children’s book published in this country bears her influence. Her contribution to Canadian children’s literature was enormous and will live on forever.
We invite Tundra’s authors, artists, colleagues, and anyone who knew May, or even those who want to comment, to please leave your thoughts and reminisces below.
Please visit articles on May Cutler from:
- Montreal Gazette
- School Library Journal
- The Metropolitain
- Westmount Examiner
- Quill & Quire
- The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
- The Globe and Mail
- IBBY Canada
- The National Post
- Deakin Newsletter
The life and accomplishments of former publisher May Cutler will be celebrated in a special memorial event on Saturday, March 19 at 2:00p.m. at Victoria Hall in Montreal. The memorial event is being organized by members of the Cutler family, and will feature several guest speakers, including Mayor Peter Trent and author Roch Carrier.
Family establishes May Cutler Arts Fund
In honour of Cutler’s life and accomplishments — especially her interest in promoting the arts — a memorial fund has been set up by the family to help sponsor various art projects. This initiative came about over the past two weeks, said daughter-in-law Marina Cutler.
“As word got out about May’s passing, we had so many people contacting us to ask what they could do,” said Marina, who is overseeing the fund. “People wanted to know if they could make a donation, or should they send flowers — and if so, where should they send them?
“May and I had spent a lot of time discussing one of her dreams, which was to create an international sculpture garden in Montreal, so that was the springboard for the idea of the fund. We thought we could establish the May Cutler Art Fund in order to further her dream of this garden. Right now the focus is to follow through on that idea.”
Anyone interested in making a non-tax-exempt contributions to this fund can do so by sending a cheque to the May Cutler Arts Fund, P.O. Box 122 Station Victoria, Westmount, Quebec, H3Z 2V4. Contributions can also be made at the memorial event in Victoria Hall.