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Requiem for My Brother

In July, 2001, my brother Dave died. His illness and dying took me on an unexpected, emotionally ambivalent journey into our past, into memories of family and landscape. The result is Requiem for My Brother, published by Greystone Books/Douglas&McIntyre Group.

The Intimate Lives of Single Women

In March, 1999, I began a journey across Canada into the lives of Canadian single women. I met and interviewed an extraordinary range of women, from the Gulf islands in the west to the coves of Newfoundland. I spoke to women in their homes, alone and in groups. I went to small prairie and northern towns and all the major cities. The result is Solitaire: The Intimate Lives of Single Women.

But writing this book was also for me a journey through my own experience, growing up as we all did with deeply held ideas and fantasies about love and marriage, marrying in my twenties, becoming a mother in my thirties, divorcing in my forties.

Walking the Line:
Travels along the Canadian/American Border

Douglas & McIntyre/Sierra Club Books, 1989

By the people who live there, and the people who put it there, the Canada/U.S. border is always called "the Line." I wanted to step outside the official boundary crossings to discover what the border actually is and what its inhabitants feel about living there. I followed the physical line through pastures and forests, over rivers and mountains. Visually, the border is a long, long line of numbered monuments, some of which have been in place since 1766. It is also a vital strip of shared history, mythology and landscape. My journal of exploration along the border documents the people and monuments, past and present. I found stories that open like windows illuminating small differences between two cultures.

I wrote this book after doing a five-hour series of documentaries on the subject for the CBC Radio program IDEAS. In 2001, the border is once again the subject of discussion, as North America seriously considers the idea of a perimeter border for security reasons. Will this richly annotated margin in our history, which has always been of greater importance symbolically to Canadians than to Americans, become an anachronism?
excerpts from Walking the Line

Writing Home: A PEN Canada Anthology
edited by Constance Rooke, McClelland & Stewart, 1997

This is a collection of personal essays by forty-four Canadian writers, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields, Timothy Findley and Nino Ricci. The book is a fundraiser for PEN Canada, the international organization that defends freedom of expression and works on behalf of imprisioned writers, and is still available from PEN Canada. My piece is called Hearth.
an excerpt from Hearth