Thursday, March 28, 2013

50 Canadians Who Changed the World

So this is what it looks like, the most anticipated book of the year . . . at least around our house. Early on, I decided to make things harder for myself rather than easier -- and also more fun. I decided to include only those Canadians born after 1900. End result, more than two thirds of the transformative figures to be found in these pages are still alive and thriving. The book turns up this autumn from HarperCollins Canada.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Return to Rae Strait

In August 1854, during a single prodigious Arctic expedition, the Scottish Orcadian superman John Rae solved the two great mysteries of 19th-century Arctic exploration. First, beating his way overland with his two hardiest men, an Inuk and an Ojibway, he discovered the final link in the Northwest Passage, the only channel navigable by the sailing ships of the day. Second, Rae correctly determined the fate of the Franklin expedition -- specifically, that the final survivors of that unlucky, two-vessel undertaking had been driven to cannibalism. I told the whole story in my book Fatal Passage. In the epilogue to that work, I described how, in 1999, with Cameron Treleaven and Louie Kamookak, I erected a plaque beside the cairn that Rae built in the High Arctic, overlooking the waterway he discovered. In August 2012, sailing this time with Adventure Canada, I revisited that hard-to-reach spot -- this time, with eighty or ninety voyagers keen to establish the site as a viable historical destination. Just in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Rae's birth (September, 1813), this story turns up in the latest issue (April-May) of Canada's History magazine.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New MFA program in Creative Nonfiction

Our Hero turns up on a roster of nine writer-mentors for a new Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Nonfiction. The program, which launches this August at the University of King's College in Nova Scotia, is the brainchild of the well-known Halifax author Stephen Kimber. The nine writer-mentors from across the country have together published nearly 100 books. Ken is excited to be part of a CNF initiative coming out of the East, and to find himself on a team that includes Marq de Villiers, Tim Falconer, David Hayes, Lori A. May, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Candace Savage, Alisa Smith, and Harry Thurston. Don Sedgwick, the veteran publisher, literary agent, and university professor, will serve as executive director of the program, which is the first of its kind in Canada. Deadline for applications is April 1, 2013. Maybe see you there!