Toronto’s authors speak out for our public library

MARGARET ATWOOD

Biography:

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College. Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than fifty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages. She currently lives in Toronto.

Major works include:

  • The Edible Woman (1970)
  • Surfacing (1973)
  • Lady Oracle (1976)
  • Bodily Harm (1981)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (1983)
  • Cat’s Eye (1989)
  • The Robber Bride (1994)
  • Alias Grace (1996)
  • The Blind Assassin (2000)
  • Oryx and Crake, (2003)
  • Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, part of the Massey Lecture series, appeared in 2008 Year of the Flood (2009)

Notable awards

1960-1969:

  • E.J. Pratt Medal, 1961
  • President’s Medal, University of Western Ontario, 1965
  • Governor General’s Award: Circle Game, 1966
  • Centennial Commission Poetry Competition, First, 1967
  • Union Poetry Prize, Poetry (Chicago), 1969

1970-1979:

  • Officer, Order of Canada, 1973
  • The Bess Hoskins Prize, Poetry (Chicago), 1974
  • The City of Toronto Book Award, 1977
  • The Canadian Bookseller’s Association Award, 1977
  • Periodical Distributors of Canada Short Fiction, 1977
  • St. Lawrence Award for Fiction, 1978

1980-1989:

  • Radcliffe Graduate medal, 1980
  • Molson Award, 1981
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1981
  • Companion of the Order of Canada, 1981
  • Welsh Arts Council International Writer’s Prize, 1982
  • Periodical Distributors of Canada and the Foundation for The Advancement of Canadian Letters Book of the Year Award, 1983
  • Ida Nudel Humanitarian Award, 1986
  • Toronto Arts Award, 1986
  • Governor General’s Award, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1986
  • Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, 1986
  • Ms. Magazine, Woman of the Year, 1986
  • Short-listed for the Booker Prize (England), 1987
  • Short-listed for the Ritz Hemingway Prize (Paris), 1987
  • Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction, 1987
  • Commonwealth Literary Prize, Regional winner, 1987
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Silver Medal, Best Article of the Year, 1987
  • Humanist of the Year Award, 1987
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1987
  • YWCA Women of Distinction Award, 1988
  • National Magazine Award for Environmental Journalism, First Prize, 1988
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Honourary Member, Literature, 1988
  • Cat’s Eye, Torgi Talking Book (CNIB), 1989
  • Cat’s Eye, City of Toronto Book Award, 1989
  • Cat’s Eye, Coles Book of the Year, 1989
  • Canadian Booksellers Association Author of the Year, 1989
  • Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters / Periodical Marketers of Canada Book of the Year 1989,
  • Cat’s Eye Short-listed for the Booker Prize (England), 1989

1990-1999:

  • Order of Ontario, 1990 Centennial Medal, Harvard University, 1990
  • Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario writing for Wilderness Tips, 1992
  • John Hughes Prize, from the Welsh Development Board, 1992
  • Book of the Year Award from the Periodical Marketers of Canada for Wilderness Tips, 1992
  • Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation, 1992
  • Canadian Authors’ Association Novel of the Year for The Robber Bride, 1993
  • Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing for The Robber Bride, 1994
  • Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Canadian and Caribbean Region for The Robber Bride, 1994
  • Government of France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1994
  • Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence for The Robber Bride, London U.K., 1994
  • Swedish Humour Association’s International Humourous Writer Award, 1995
  • Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll, 1995
  • Trillium Award for Excellence in Ontario Writing for Morning in the Burned House, 1995
  • Norwegian Order of Literary Merit, 1996
  • Short-listed for the Booker Prize for Alias Grace, 1996
  • The Giller Prize for Alias Grace, 1996
  • Canadian Booksellers Association Author of the Year, 1996
  • National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature, U.S.A., 1997
  • Premio Mondello for Alias Grace, Italy, 1997
  • Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll, 1997
  • Salon Magazine Best Fiction of the Year for Alias Grace, 1997
  • Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll, 1998
  • London Literature Award, 1999
  • Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll, 1999

2000-2009

  • Best Local Author, NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll, 2000.
  • Winner Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin, 2000
  • Nominated for the Orange Prize, 2001
  • International Crimewriters Association Dashiell Hammett Award, 2001
  • Canadian Booksellers Association People’s Choice Award, 2001
  • Short-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for The Blind Assassin, 2002
  • NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll, 2003
  • The Radcliffe Medal, 2003
  • Harold Washington Literary Award, 2003
  • Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize for Oryx and Crake, 2003
  • Short-listed for the Giller Prize for Oryx and Crake, 2003
  • Short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction for Oryx and Crake, 2003
  • Short-listed for the Orange Prize for Oryx and Crake, 2004
  • NOW Magazine Readers’ Poll, 2004
  • Short-listed for Booker International Prize, 2005
  • Banff Centre’s National Arts Award, 2005
  • Edinburgh’s International Book Festival Enlightenment Award, 2005
  • Chicago Tribune Literary Prize, 2005
  • Markets Initiative Order of the Forest, 2006
  • Short-listed for Booker International Prize, 2007
  • Winner Blue Metropolis Literary Grand Prix, Montreal, 2007
  • Finalist, Gov. General’s Literary Awards for The Door, 2007
  • Kenyon Review Literary Achievement Award, U.S.A., 2007
  • Honourary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, 2007
  • Winner of the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, Spain, 2008
  • Ontario College of Art and Design, 2009

2010

  • Crystal Award, World Economic Forum, Davos-Klosters Switzerland, 2010
  • Nelly Sachs, Dortmund, Germany, 2010
VINCENT LAM

Biography:

For Dr. Vincent Lam, becoming a doctor and caring for patients has been the ultimate form of character study. He lives in the worlds of both medicine and writing, with each enriching the other. Raised in Ottawa, Dr. Lam did his medical training in Toronto, where he now practices emergency medicine.

His past work in medicine also includes international air evacuation work and expedition medicine on Arctic and Antarctic ships. Dr. Vincent Lam is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam.

Major works include:

  • Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures (2006)
  • The Flu Pandemic and You (2003)
  • Extraordinary Canadians – Tommy Douglas (2011)
  • Dr. Lam’s non-fiction writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, Toronto Life Magazine and The New York Times.

Notable awards

  • Scotiabank Giller Prize, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures – the 32 year-old recipient became the youngest writer to ever win the award
JEREMY TANKARD

Biography:

Jeremy Tankard was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but moved to Canada with his family. After a childhood of drawing and writing he attended the Alberta College of Art and Design where he studied drawing and printmaking.

He worked as a graphic designer and typesetter before embarking on a career in illustration. After a few years of commercial illustration I went back to storytelling and began writing and illustrating his own books.

Major works include:

  • Boo Hoo Bird (2009)
  • Me Hungry! (2008)
  • Grumpy Bird (2007)

Notable awards

  • 2008 Blue Spruce Award for Grumpy Bird
  • 2008 Shining Willow Selection for Grumpy Bird
  • Shortlisted for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, 2008
  • Shortlisted for the CBA Libris Award for Illustrator of the Year 2008
  • Shortlisted for The Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, 2008
  • Shortlisted for the Debbie Zimmerman Early Years Niagara Literary Award, 2007
  • Shortlisted for a Founder’s Award 2007, Society of Illustrators, New York
  • Selected for the Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets of 2007
  • Toronto Public Library “First & Best” booklist, 2007
  • CBC Sounds Like Canada children’s book panel selection, December 2007
  • Named a Borders Original Voices Author, March 2007
  • Selected for the L.A. Times Best of the Year List, December 2007
  • Parents Magazine’s “5 books to promote good behavior”, March 2009 issue
  • Selected for the L.A. Times Best of the Year List, December 2008, for Me Hungry!
SUSAN SWAN

Biography:

Susan Swan’s critically acclaimed fiction has been published in twenty countries. Swan was the Associate Professor of Humanities at York University. In 1999-2000, she was awarded the Millennial Robarts Chair in Canadian Studies. She was chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada (2007-2008) and brought in a new benefits deal for Canadian writers. She is also a member of Community Air, the Toronto civic activist group that has fought against the building of the bridge to the Toronto Island Airport.

A native of southwestern Ontario and graduate of McGill University, Susan Swan makes her home and garden in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood.

Major works include:

  • What Casanova Told Me (2004)
  • The Wives of Bath (1993)
  • The Biggest Modern Woman in the World
  • The Last of the Golden Girls (1989)
  • Stupid Boys are Good to Relax With (1996)

Notable awards

  • Chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, 2007–2008
  • Robarts Millennial Scholar, York University, 1999-2001
  • Canada Council Award for Fiction, 1998
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Travel Grant, York University, 1996
  • Toronto Arts Council Award for Fiction, 1996
  • Canada Council Short-term Grant, Ottawa, 1995
  • Ontario Arts Council Award for Works-in-Progress, 1995
  • Guardian Fiction Prize Finalist, U.K., (International Award), 1993
  • Trillium Finalist, Ontario, 1993
  • Toronto Arts Council Award for Fiction, 1993
  • Ontario Arts Council Award for Works-in-Progress, 1991
  • Canada Council Award for Fiction, Ottawa, 1989
  • Canada Council Award for Fiction, Ottawa, 1988
  • Ontario Arts Council Award for Works-in-Progress, 1988
  • Oberon, Best Canadian Stories (for Sluts), Ottawa, 1988
  • Toronto Arts Council Award for Fiction, 1986
  • Playwright-in-Residence, NECESSARY ANGEL, Toronto, 1985
  • Canada Council Award for Fiction, Ottawa, 1984
  • Finalist, Governor-General’s Award for Fiction and in Best First Novel Contest , Ottawa, 1983
SYLVIA FRASER

Biography:

Sylvia Fraser, born in Hamilton, is a novelist, journalist and travel writer. In her long year career as a journalist, she has written hundreds of articles, beginning as a Feature Writer for The Toronto Star Weekly (1957–68), and continuing with articles for many other magazines and newspapers including The Globe & Mail, Saturday Night, Chatelaine, the Walrus and Toronto Life. She served on the Arts Advisory Panel to Canada Council, was a founding member of The Writers’ Union of Canada and for many years was on the executive of The Writers’ Trust, a charitable organization for the support of Canadian authors and literature. Fraser lives in Toronto.

Major works include:

  • 2003 – The green labyrinth : exploring the mysteries of the Amazon (Non-fiction)
  • 2001 – The rope in the wate : a pilgrimage to India (Non-fiction)
  • 1998 – Tom and Francine : a love story (Fiction)
  • 1997 – A Woman’s place : seventy years in the lives of Canadian women (Non-fiction)
  • 1996 – The ancestral suitcase (Non-fiction)
  • 1992 – The Quest for the fourth monkey: a thinkers guide to the psychic and spiritual revolution (Non-fiction)
  • 1992 – The book of strange (Non-fiction)
  • 1987 – My father’s house: a memoir of incest and of healing (Non-fiction)
  • 1984 – Berlin Solstice: a nove (Fiction)
  • 1980 – The emperor’s virgin: a novel (Fiction)
  • 1978 – A casual affair: a modern fairytale (Fiction)
  • 1975 – The candy factory (Fiction)
  • 1972 – Pandora : a novel (Fiction)

Notable awards

  • Women’s Press Club, 1967 and ’68.
  • President’s Medal, for Canadian journalism, 1968
  • Canadian Authors’ Association Non-Fiction Book Award, 1987 for My Father’s House.
  • Feminist Book Fortnight Selection, U.K., 1987. My Father’s House
  • American Library Association Booklist Medal,1994, for The Quest for the Fourth Monkey.
  • National Magazine Gold Medal, 1994 , 2004, 2005
  • National Magazine Silver Medal, 1996 & 2002
  • Western Magazine Gold Medal, 2006.
  • Phoenix Women Rising Award, 2007 inaugural, Sexual Abuse Centre, London The Matt Cohen A Writer’s Life Award for lifetime literary achievement
LINWOOD BARCLAY

Biography:

Linwood Barclay was born in the United States, but just as he was turning four, his parents moved to Canada, He got is first newspaper job at the Peterborough Examiner. In 1981, he joined the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper. For twelve years he held a variety of editing positions, then became the paper’s humour columnist in 1993. A few thousand columns later, he retired from the paper in 2008 to write books full-time.

Linwood and his wife Neetha have been married more than thirty years, and have two children, Spencer and Paige.

Major works include:

  • No Time for Goodbye (2007)
  • Too close to Home (2008)
  • Fear the Worst (2009)
  • Never Look Away (2010)
  • The Accident (2011)
  • Clouded Vision (2011)
  • Last Resort: A Memoir
  • Mike Harris Made Me Eat My Dog
  • Father Knows Zilch: A guide for dumbfounded dads
  • This house is nuts!

Notable awards

  • Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada
  • Voted the Richard and Judy Best Summer Read in the UK
  • Nominated: Shamus Award for Best Original P.I. Paperback (2008)
  • Nominated: Barry Award for Best Thriller (2008)
JOY FIELDING

Biography:

Joy Fielding is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her books have been published in multiple languages worldwide. At the age of 8, Joy Tepperman wrote her first story and sent it into a local magazine, and at age 12 sent in her first TV script, however both were rejected. She had a brief acting career, eventually giving it up to write full time in 1972.

She has published to date 22 novels, two of which were converted into film. Joy resides in Toronto and Palm Beach, Florida.

Major works include:

  • Kiss Mommy Goodbye (1981)
  • The Other Woman (1983)
  • Life Penalty (1984)
  • The Deep End (1986)
  • Good Intentions (1989)
  • See Jane Run (1991)
  • Tell Me No Secrets (1993)
  • Don’t Cry Now (1995)
  • Missing Pieces (1997)
  • The First Time (2000)
  • Grand Avenue (2001)
  • Whispers and Lies (2002)
  • Lost (2003)
  • Puppet (2005)
  • Mad River Road (2006)
  • Heartstopper (2007)
  • Charley’s Web (2008)
  • Still Life (2009)
  • Wild Zone (2010)
  • Now You See Her (2011)
ANNA PORTER

Biography:

Anna was born in Budapest, Hungary. She was educated in New Zealand (BA and MA at Canterbury University, Christchurch) and began her publishing career as a junior editor at Cassell and Company, London, England. She emigrated to Canada in 1970, and worked at McClelland & Stewart for several years before starting Key Porter Books with Michael de Pencier’s Key Publishers.

Anna Porter has written numerous articles for magazines and newspapers on a broad range of topics, including Israel and the Palestinians, Farley Mowat, Jack McClelland, Doris Anderson, cultural xenophobia, new immigrants, Anti-Semitism, Hungarians, Dracula, The Queen Charlottes and Central Europe. Her interviews with Natan Sharansky, Radislaw Skvorecki and Ferenc Gyurcsany were featured in Maclean’s magazine. Her story about Solidarity was featured in the Globe and Mail.

Major works include:

  • HIdden Agenda
  • Mortal Sins
  • Bookfair Murders
  • The Storyteller: A Memoir of Secres, Magis and Lies
  • Kasztner’s train: The True Story of Rezso Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust
  • The Ghosts of Europe: Journeys Through Central Europes Troubled Past and Uncertain Future (2010)

Notable awards

  • Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of Rezso Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust, winner of the 2007
  • Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Award and of the Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction.
  • She is an Officer of The Order of Canada and has been awarded the Order of Ontario.
JUDY FONG-BATES

Biography:

Judy Fong Bates came to Canada from China as a young child and grew up in several small Ontario towns. She is a writer, storyteller and teacher. She taught elementary school in the city of Toronto for over twenty years. While teaching she honed her skills as a storyteller and has told folktales and original stories at schools and festivals throughout southern Ontario. Judy has also taught and mentored students in creative writing through the University of Toronto, Trent University and Diaspora Dialogues.

Judy has two adult daughters and two grandchildren. She lives with her husband on a farm outside of Toronto. They are both devoted gardeners and enthusiastic hikers.

Major works include:

  • Midnight at the Dragon Café is the 2011 One Book Community Read for the city of Toronto.
  • China Dog and Other Stories
  • Midnight at the Dragon Café, which was the Everybody Reads selection for Portland, Oregon, and an American Library Association Notable Book for 2006.
  • The Year of Finding Memory (2010) by Random House of Canada.

Notable awards

  • ALEX Award winner, American Library Association, 2005
  • The One Community Reads selection for Portland, Oregon, February, 2007
ROBERT ROTENBERG

Biography:

After graduating from law school in Toronto, Robert Rotenberg became the managing editor of Passion, the English-speaking magazine of Paris. He then returned to publish and edit his own magazine, T.O. The Magazine of Toronto. Rotenburg is the chairman of the Board of Directors of The Canterbury/Marc Perri Clinic a drug and alcohol rehab clinic. Eighteen years ago he opened his own law practice and is today one of Toronto’s top criminal lawyers, defending, as he likes to say “everything from murder to shoplifting.”

Rotenberg lives in Toronto with his wife, television news producer Vaune Davis, their three children.

Major works include:

  • Old City Hall (2009)
  • The Guilty Plea (2011)

Notable awards

  • Old City Hall finalist, British Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger Award.
  • Shortlisted Evergreen Award 2010