I write books for adults and younger readers. My most recent novel is Every Blade of Grass. My first novel, Icefields (1995) won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean division, and the inaugural Banff Mountain Book grand prize. My second novel, Salamander (2001), was short-listed for the Governor-General’s Literary Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. A collection of short stories about imaginary books, The Logogryph, published in 2004 by Gaspereau Press was shortlisted for the IMPAC-Dublin Prize. I've published a three-volume fantasy for younger readers, The Perilous Realm. Book One, The Shadow of Malabron, was … Read More...
Darwin took several tortoises on board the Beagle during its time in the Galapagos. I like to imagine him having them on board as companions during the long sea voyages in between the Beagle’s ports of call. One of these tortoises was always thought (or wished) to be the famously long-lived Harriet of the Australia… [Continue Reading]
Darwin abominated slavery. He was appalled at the cruelty and injustice he witnessed while traveling in South America. Once when crossing a river with a black ferryman, Darwin found it difficult to communicate with the man. “In endeavouring to make him understand, I talked loud, and made signs, in doing which I passed my hand… [Continue Reading]
From The Voyage of the Beagle, Chapter VIII: “One evening, when we were about ten miles from the Bay of San Blas, vast numbers of butterflies, in bands or flocks of countless myriads, extended as far as the eye could range. Even with the aid of a telescope it was not possible to see a… [Continue Reading]
From Darwin’s Beagle Diary: October 24, 1832 The night was pitch dark, with a fresh breeze.— The sea from its extreme luminousness presented a wonderful & most beautiful appearance; every part of the water, which by day is seen as foam, glowed with a pale light. The vessel drove before her bows two… [Continue Reading]
Imagining Darwin 4: In the Galapagos On October 18th, 1835 Darwin was camped on St James Island (Isla Santiago) in the Galapagos Archipelago, where he’d been exploring and gathering specimens. He and the crewmen who came with him were now waiting for the Beagle to return for them after finishing its surveying cruise around the… [Continue Reading]