Remembering Farley Mowat


farleymowat-584.jpg

Author Farley Mowat is shown in August 2007. (CP PHOTO/HO/Nova Scotia Nature Trust)


Farley Mowat has died, CBC News has confirmed. He was 92 years old.

Born in Belleville, Ontario on May 12, 1921, Mowat was one of Canada's best known authors and environmentalists. During the course of his 50-year career, Mowat wrote more than 30 books, including Owls in the Family, Sea of Slaughter and Never Cry Wolf. He published his first book People of the Deer in 1952 and quickly became a popular and controversial figure. His work has sold more than 15 million copies -- more than any other Canadian author -- and has been translated into over 50 languages worldwide.

Mowat was known for his environmental activism as well as his writing. He considered his work "subjective non-fiction" and famously told CBC's Peter Gzowski in 1993 that he "never allow[s] the facts to interfere with the truth...there's a certain elaboration here and there but essentially it's all true."

His 1956 novel, Lost in the Barrens won the Governor General's Award in 1956. In 1981, Mowat was made an officer of the Order of Canada. In 2010, he received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

Journalist and playwright Silver David Cameron reacted to the news of Mowat's death on CBC Radio and discussed his influence.

media clip

In this vintage clip, legendary CBC host Kate Aitken interviews a young Farley Mowat about his experiences up North, sleeping in a bush tent and exploring the wilderness.


media clip

In 1970, the CBC documentary series Telescope profiled Farley Mowat on a trip to his summer home in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. During the episode, the gregarious writer shares his love of nature, and his musings on the literary life and the modern world.

media clip






Memorable quotes from Farley Mowat


never-cry-wolf-584.png


"Inaction will cause a man to sink into the slough of despond and vanish without a trace."


"You never know when the devil might come calling."


"It is in our nature to travel into our past, hoping thereby to illuminate the darkness that bedevils the present."


"We're under some gross misconception that we're a good species, going somewhere important, and that at the last minute we'll correct our errors and God will smile on us. It's delusion."


"Without a function, we cease to be. So, I will write till I die."


More tributes to Farley Mowat

farley-mowat-letter-110.jpg
Farley Mowat sent me the best rejection letter I've ever received

Canada Writes editor Jennifer Warren shares a hilarious and touching letter she received from Mowat several years ago.

Read more.



Farley Mowat in conversation with George Stroumboulopoulos

In 2008, the great Canadian writer and environmentalist sat down with George Stroumboulopoulos to talk about his life and career, as well as his 40th book, the memoir Otherwise.


Coming up on CBC Radio:

The Next Chapter

On May 10, The Next Chapter devotes the second half of its show to contemplate the legacy of Farley Mowat.

The Sunday Edition

On May 11, The Sunday Edition will re-broadcast Michael Enright's 2008 interview with the celebrated writer about life, and love, and the magic of a glass of scotch in the morning.


Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.