If you don’t fancy drinking green beer, there are lots of other ways to honour Irish culture: there’s plenty in film, art and literature that avoids the pastiche of leprechauns and shamrocks – but have clear Irish voices with universal appeal. Here are three books published in the past year from some of the country’s […]


Heard in the crowd “Susan, I didn’t know you’d be here,” a woman says to writer Susan Swan. Who says “Good to see you! This is my friend, Katherine Govier.” Big names in Canadian culture. Then there was the rest of us at the opening night of the inaugural Pages Festival in Toronto. It’s running […]

The weather’s warming up – but it’s still cold enough outside to spend a weekend curled up with a book. Here are three I’ve read recently – click on the links below for the full reviews: My Life in Middlemarch is one for those who want a literary meal. It’s written by New Yorker writer […]

So Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wants the rainbow flag – the Pride flag that represents the gay community – taken down from city hall. Earlier this week it was flown up the flagpole – by order of the city’s Protocol Chief –  at the request of a Toronto group to show solidarity for Russia’s gays […]

I was wondering why she was reading a children’s book. I didn’t see the title page, didn’t catch its name. But I could see, peering down on her as I stood holding on to the pole in the subway, snooping, something in big, kid-friendly type, about frogs. She seemed engrossed; was reading intently. This middle-aged […]

Here’s a subway person I forgot about until I started writing down these stories. He was easy to forget about, I guess; he was invisible, anyway, to the hundreds of people who stepped over and around him as he lay on the subway station floor. Read more Transit City stories: The lady with the gold […]

I never thought the mayor of Toronto would give me the grist I need for a frank talk with my 9-year-old kid about the perils of smoking crack cocaine. It was during one of our dinner table talks. We’ve been making a point lately of sitting down and chatting about issues of the day – […]

Barbara Turnbull is a colleague of mine. She’s just written an eBook titled What I Know: Lessons from my 30 years of quadriplegia – here’s the link.  What she doesn’t know is that our relationship actually goes back about 30 years. In Sept., 1983,  a high-school student named Barbara Turnbull was shot during a robbery […]

A long red rose landed on my desk, along with an embossed invitation. It was one of the most coveted events in the city – and I was on the list. Writers, publicists, book editors, book sellers, publishers – we were excited about a celebration of Canadian books the likes of which this country hadn’t […]

Just had a few tweets with Andrew Taylor – the U.K. crime/historical suspense writer. He came to Canada earlier this year at the behest of his fans – a great reason to come to a place if ever there was one. His new book The Scent of Death was also out – so he managed […]

At 5.30, my husband walked through the door. “Hello,” he smiled, came over and gave me a kiss. Raised his nose and sniffed the suppertime air. “Mmmm. Smells good.” “This moment, this second,” I said to him, “could have turned out much different.” I could have been frustrated with him. He could have been ticked […]

This is the latest in my “subway people” series of posts. We don’t tend to learn the stories of people we run into during our day-to-day lives; but fiction writers usually give chance encounters big import. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could know which of these small encounters will affect our lives, as if […]


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