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...
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]
Darwin was 22 years old and Captain Fitzroy was 26 when the Beagle set sail on its five-year mission. Pause and consider those ages for a moment. A hot-tempered 26-year-old, prone to depression and fits of rage, had command of a British naval vessel that was going to circumnavigate the globe and carry out surveying… [Continue Reading]
Almost from the moment the Beagle first set sail, Darwin was violently seasick and spent the first few weeks of the journey into the Atlantic confined to his cabin and unable to keep food down. It seemed to him he had made an enormous mistake undertaking this voyage. He recovered enough to change his mind… [Continue Reading]
I’m working on a novel set during Darwin’s voyage on board the Beagle. In order to find my way imaginatively into his world, I’ve been creating dioramas out of my kids’ old toys, illustrating key moments in Darwin’s life (something like the collages I made when I was working on my novel Salamander, but… [Continue Reading]