crank letter

Crad Kilodney

Crad Kilodney (born 1948 in Jamaica, New York) is a Canadian writer who lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Kilodney obtained a degree in astronomy, but instead of working in that field he took a job at Exposition Press, a vanity publishing company. 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.

After moving to Canada, 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 over thirty books in this manner. Kilodney could generally be found, and indeed was a fixture, on Yonge Street, between Dundas and College, with a cardboard sign hanging from his neck, holding a book he was selling.

In 1991 Kilodney was arrested for selling commercial goods without a license, making him the only Canadian writer ever arrested 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 has 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.

In 1988, as a prank, Kilodney submitted a number of stories by famous writers to the CBC Radio literary competition, many under absurd names. All of the stories were screened out by the jury.

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 in 1995, and is now self-employed as a day trader. A fanbased website, run by Syd Allen, featured occasional new material up until 2004.


  • Lightning Struck My Dick - 1980
  • Human Secrets - 1981
  • Pork College - 1984
  • I Chewed Mrs. Ewing's Raw Guts - 1988
  • Nice Stories for Canadians - 1988
  • Excrement - 1988
  • Blood Sucking Monkeys from North Tonawanda - 1989
  • Junior Brain Tumours in Action - 1990
  • Girl on the Subway - 1990
  • On The Street With Crad Kilodney Vol. 3 - 1991
  • Putrid Scum - 1991
  • Suburban Chicken Strangling Stories - 1992

External links

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