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ABOUT KEN





Ken McGoogan is a globe-trotting ex-journalist who survived shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, chased the ghost of Lady Franklin from England to Tasmania, and placed a commemorative plaque on Boothia Peninsula in the High Arctic. In October of 2017, after returning from a voyage through the Northwest Passage, Ken McGoogan will travel across the country to promote Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage. Ken is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books, among them Celtic Lightning, 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, How the Scots Invented Canada, Fatal Passage, and Lady Franklin’s Revenge. His awards include the Pierre Berton Award for History, the University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography, and the Writers’ Trust of Canada Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize.

Before turning  mainly to books, Ken worked for two decades as a journalist (reporter, editor, columnist) at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. With  degrees in journalism (Ryerson) and creative writing (UBC), Ken has taught creative nonfiction for a dozen years, and in 2010 won an award for teaching excellence from the University of Toronto (Continuing Studies). He also teaches in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, writes for such publications as Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.


Awards: 

Pierre Berton Award for Canadian History
UBC Medal for Canadian Biography
Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, Lady Franklin’s Revenge
Christopher Award, New York, for “a work of artistic excellence that affirms the highest values of the human spirit,”
Writers’ Trust of Canada / Drainie-Taylor Biography Award
Canadian Authors’ Association Award for History
Grant MacEwan Author’s Award
Writers’ Guild of Alberta non-fiction award

Other Honours:

University of Toronto, Teaching Excellence, 2010
Keith Matthews Award / Honourable Mention, 2009
B.C. National Book Award for Non-Fiction, long-listed, 2008
Reader’s Digest: Best Historical Writer, 2007
Evergreen Award, Ontario Library Association, finalist, 2006
National Magazine Awards, finalist in profiles, 2005
Writers’ Guild of Alberta non-fiction award, short-listed, 2001
Banff Book Festival adventure-travel award, short-listed, 2001
W.O. Mitchell / City of Calgary book award, short-listed, 2001
University of Cambridge, Wolfson Press Fellowship, 1998
W.O. Mitchell / City of Calgary book award, short-listed, 1997

 

Appointments:

Mount Royal University, writer-in-residence, 2015
Stromness Public Library, writer-in-residence, 2013
Public Lending Right Commission, 2008-2012 (vice-chair, chair, past-chair)
Royal Canadian Geographical Society, fellow, 2008-present
Tasmanian Writers’ Centre, writer-in-residence, 2006
Toronto Reference Library, writer-in-residence, 2005
University of Cambridge, Wolfson College, visiting fellow, 2004
University of New Brunswick, writer-in-residence, 2003
Pierre Berton Writers’ Retreat, writer-in-residence, 2002
Banff Centre for the Arts / Writers’ Guild of Alberta, writer-in-residence, 2001
University of Cambridge, Wolfson College, press fellow, 1998


Appearances:

Vancouver Writers Festival, Calgary Wordfest, 2017; Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 2017; Word on the Street, Toronto, 2015; Explorers’ Club, 2015; Westminster Abbey, London, 2014; Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2014; St. Andrew’s Society of Toronto, 2012; International Festival of Authors, Toronto, 2009; London (Ontario) Writers’ Festival, 2008; Edmonton LitFest, 2007, 2012; Ottawa Writers’ Festival, 2005; Tennessee Williams Writers’ Festival (New Orleans), 2005; Melbourne Writers’ Festival, 2004; Alden Nowlan Writers’ Festival (New Brunswick), 2004; Banff-Calgary Writers’ Festival, 2001, 2003; Vancouver Readers’ and Writers’ Festival, 1995.


Career Path:

1999 – 2017. Self-employed author.
2006 – 2017. Adventure Canada. Resource historian on Arctic/Celtic voyages.
2004 – 2017. University of Toronto, Continuing Education, teach creative nonfiction.
2013 - 2017.  University of King’s College, Halifax. MFA program, creative nonfiction.
2007 – 2008. Consultant, BBC docudrama Passage (based on Fatal Passage).
2006-2007. Writers’ Union of Canada. Conducted 16 writing workshops across Canada.
2000-2002. Mount Royal College. Taught creative nonfiction.
1979-1999. Calgary Herald. Literary editor/ books columnist.
1977-1979. The Montreal Star. Copy editor, assistant entertainment editor.
1973- 1975. The Toronto Star. Reporter.

Education

M.F.A., Creative Writing, University of British Columbia, 1976.
B.A.A, Journalism, Ryerson, 1974.


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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.