I am a Canadian journalist, author and playwright. I am fascinated with the intersection of science, art and society. My second book, Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, was an international best seller that won the U.S.-based Grantham Prize for excellence in environmental journalism in 2010. With help, I turned it into a one-woman play in 2014 and I’ve been performing it ever since in Canada and other countries. It’s an odd creature: A non-fiction play performed by a non-actor. Go figure. It was nominated for a Dora award in Toronto for outstanding Indie play.
I’m in the throes of making my most recent book Malignant Metaphor: Confronting Cancer Myths: A Memoir into a play. I’m playwright-in-residence at The Theatre Centre while I do that. And I’ve just finished my fifth book, The Spinning Magnet, about the Earth’s magnetic field.
Being a journalist, I also write freelance magazine and newspaper articles and occasionally make radio documentaries for CBC. I have done work for the New York Times science section, CBC’s Quirks & Quarks, National Geographic, The Guardian, GQ India, The United Church Observer and Canadian Geographic Magazine.
I love to give talks, as long as they are conversations with an audience. Some of the topics: Climate change, Ocean change, Cancer, John Franklin’s expedition, Evolution, Charles Darwin, Neonic pesticides, the Earth’s magnetic field
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My first degree is in Latin literature and English literature from Trinity College at the University of Toronto. My second, a bachelor of applied arts in journalism, is from Ryerson University in Toronto. I have an honorary Doctor of Sacred Letters from Trinity College, U of Toronto and an honorary Doctor of Laws from the U of Regina.
I started my career as a journalist at Canada’s The Financial Post where I covered the real estate market, the Robert Campeau and Reichmann business interests, and the Canadian banking industry. I won two awards for my coverage of the collapse of the Campeau empire.
After three years at The Post, I moved to Canada’s National Newspaper, The Globe and Mail, to write about social trends and statistics. Eventually, I became the national Calgary correspondent for The Globe and then, back in Toronto after six years, a feature writer on earth sciences. I won four major national and international awards during my stint the.
I left daily journalism in 2004 after 17 years to focus on writing popular science books and magazine articles and, eventually, plays.
I won the 2008 Atkinson Fellowship in Journalism, a $100,000 prize, to conduct a new course of study on the intersection of neuroscience and education. And in 2010, won the U.S.-based Grantham Prize for my second book, Sea Sick, worth US$75,000. The Grantham Prize is awarded to journalists for their coverage of broadly significant environmental issues. Read the press release here. In 2013, I did a writing residency in Marfa, Texas, a gift of the Lannan Foundation, where I did most of the writing of Malignant Metaphor: Confronting Cancer Myths: A Memoir. That book won the $10,000 Lane Anderson Award for best Canadian science book written for adults in 2015.