In my previous life, I worked as a primatologist, which is just a fancy word for someone who studies monkeys in the jungle. For one whole year, I was like a male version of Jane Goodall, minus the physical endurance, scientific breakthroughs and universal acclaim.
I traded the real jungle for the concrete one a long time ago, but my experiences with wild animals still inform a lot of my work. Most of my writing explores one corner or another of our fraught, curious and ever-evolving relationship with the natural world.
My latest book is the national bestselling The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, the true story of a remarkable family of chimpanzees who spent decades as test subjects in a medical research lab, and who are now slowly recovering in an animal sanctuary near Montreal. The Chimps won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, was shortlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, and was named a Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail, Amazon.ca, Quill and Quire and CTV’s Canada AM.
While you’re snooping around, make sure to connect with me through Twitter and Facebook. That way, we can continue to learn from each other long after you’ve forgotten what the word ‘primatologist’ means. Also, check out my blog and feel free to add your own two cents about the human/animal relationship.
As for the details, I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, I am a Gold National Magazine Award winner and my feature writing appears in The Walrus, Utne Reader, explore, Canadian Geographic, The Globe and Mail and The Guardian, among others. My work has also been anthologized in Cabin Fever: The Best New Canadian Non-Fiction.
Oh, and most importantly, I am Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where I get to work with some of the most ambitious, talented young writers around.