I hail from the province of Saskatchewan, a thinly-populated rectangle in the Canadian west where summers are short but glorious, the winters long but cold. I was born in the capital city of Regina and promptly became an orphan. Adopted by a nice couple affiliated with the Kinsmen club, I was transplanted north to Prince Albert, the small city on the North Saskatchewan River where the prairie ends and the boreal forest begins.

Sixteen mostly-happy years later I graduated from St. Mary High School, then moved to Saskatoon to get an English degree at the University of Saskatchewan. Between major milestones I have been an airline ticket agent and ramp rat, a credit card company Junior Associate, a summer camp counsellor, a tree planter, a lifter of heavy things in a warehouse, and a daydreamer. I lived and studied in Montreal, Quebec during two separate stints, and traveled rather a lot in Europe and Asia when aimless roving was still affordable.

I married my high school girlfriend, the painter Marlene Yuzak, and we had two kids.  Eventually, I took a Master’s degree in journalism at the University of Western Ontario in London. I had a comfortable job as a reporter for the London Free Press for a time, but we yearned for the West. After returning to Saskatoon to raise our kids, I started a career as a freelance author on a kind of self-dare.

I continue to take the dare, one day at a time. It gets easier, though, because I am not good for much else than following my nose and writing about whatever I find. I was once described by a friend as “curious about everything,” which I took as a fine compliment.

Over time I have been pulled into the orbit of nature writing. I am especially interested in writing about the land itself, how we view it, how we use it, how it shapes the soul of its citizens. It seems to me our great task as a species is to find a sustainable place within the biosphere, and I try to lend my talents, humble though they be, to that enterprise.

My work has appeared in many well-known Canadian titles — Adbusters, Canadian Business, Canadian Geographic, Canadian Living, Reader’s Digest, Books in Canada — to name a few. I have been fortunate to win some Western Magazine Awards over the years, and recently shared a National Magazine Award with the editorial team at Canadian Geographic for a special environmental package we put together. I received the inaugural Science Journalism Award from the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. I have been the recipient of an expedition research grant from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

For fun I fool around with small boats — canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, sailboats. I spend as much time as I can manage far from the city and like to organize wilderness trips for friends. Finding myself restless in middle age, I have taken to travel again.

Lakeland: Ballad of a Freshwater Country is my first book.


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