Born in Toronto, and brought up on a farm near Kleinburg, Ontario, Gilbert Reid has an honors B.A. from the University of Toronto, a M.Sc. (Econ) from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. from Cambridge University (English Literature), and has studied at Science Po in Paris and at Birkbeck College, University of London.
For thirty years, Reid lived and worked in Europe, principally in England, France, and Italy. For 6 years he taught English and 19th and 20th Century English Literature, from Jane Austen to James Joyce, at the University of Messina in Sicily, and for 11 years he was Director of the Canadian Cultural Center in Rome, and active in the promotion of Canadian culture and Canadian Studies throughout Italy.
He also worked as press officer at the Canadian Embassy in Rome, as an economist with the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in Paris, as a tour guide for ‘adventure travel’ with the French company Nouvelles Frontières, and, through many seasons, in public relations in the cultural and film fields in Italy, working with, among others, the Two Worlds Festival in Spoleto, the Taormina Film Festival, the Naples and Sorrento Film festivals, and with the Arte Biennale of Venice, often for some of the festivals chairing roundtables and press conferences, writing and translating catalogues and press releases, and interviewing some of the major filmmakers and writers and cultural figures of the 20th Century, including many Canadians, particularly Quebec and French Canadian writers and filmmakers. His interviews with Northrop Frye are included in Frye’s collected works. While in Europe, Reid frequently wrote for the Times Literary Supplement of London, and he edited a quality Canadian-oriented promotional magazine, Canada Contemporaneo, as well as writing for other publications, mainly in English and Italian. He has also been a member of a number of film juries, in Switzerland, Monte Carlo, and Canada
Since returning to Canada in 1995, Reid has published a collection of short stories, “So This is Love” (Key Porter in Canada, St. Martin’s Press in the US), one of the Globe and Mail’s “best books of the year”, as well as doing book reviews and opinion pieces for the Globe and Mail, and writing prolifically for radio and television.
“For King and Empire” and “For King and Country”, both six hour series, are among the most widely viewed Canadian historical television documentaries, and his “Burma” with Peter Ustinov, has been seen around the world. His “Gilbert Reid’s Italy” and “Gilbert Reid’s France”, both five hour series, were among the most popular recent broadcasts on CBC’s prestigious IDEAS for which Reid has written – and narrated – many programs.
At present, Reid is working on a number of television series, and is completing a rather ambitious series of five – rather fat – novels.
Reid is fluent in English, French, and Italian, and he has broadcast and written in those languages.