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Autobiography Challenge: Lorna Crozier, death merchants and more!

What mode of public transit is poet Lorna Crozier's life sorely lacking? What CBC Bookie Award winner has a popcorn addiction? Read all the sordid details in the latest slew of writerly celeb entries to the Canada Writes Autobiography Challenge. (Oh, and don't worry - they're not eligible to win the iPad 2.)


There's a Word for That

By Allison Baggio

For Allison, collecting words and arranging them in her computer has been a lifelong obsession and the source of her insanity. Everything revolves around finding perfect ways to express things like jealousy, jubilance and gastrointestinal upset. She'll identify the better way to say everything - even if it drives her mad.

Allison's real bio: Allison Baggio's fiction has appeared in journals across Canada, including Room and SubTerrain. Her first novel, Girl in Shades, will be released this fall by ECW Press. 



Still Don't Even Know Me

By Michelle Berry

Michelle Berry's most recent autobiography is so incredibly riveting, funny, inspiring, wise, in-no-way-morbid, dazzling, unique, wickedly amusing, sharp, sparkling, imaginatively atmospheric, wild, Dionysian, sizzling, crackling, shattering, spine-tingling, intriguing, un-put-downable and heart-wrenching that it doesn't need a blurb.

Michelle's real bio:
Michelle Berry's third book of short stories, I Still Don't Even Know You, just won the 2011 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book Published by a Manitoba Publisher. She has written four novels, and is also co-editor with Natalee Caple of The Notebooks: Interviews and New Fiction from Contemporary Writers. Michelle will be a mentor at Humber College in the Spring.



Snow. Dust. Not Enough Sex.

By Lorna Crozier

This autobiography needs a smaller sky and at least one tree. It's too smalltown: there's no clubbing, no subway anomie. But it's full of animals and regret. It's full of longing. There's a good love story at its heart and years of devotion to one man. How cool is that?

Lorna's real bio: Lorna Crozier has authored 14 books of poetry, including the Governor General's Award-winning Inventing the Hawk and her latest, Whetstone. She has also written memoirs, including Small Beneath the Sky. Lorna currently teaches and serves as Chair in the Writing Department at the University of Victoria.



Mother of an Insult

By Peter Edwards

Mobster Pat Musitano once told author Peter Edwards, "Thank God your mother loves you because nobody else does." Then he got really insulting. Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris also is a major non-fan of Edwards, who's now deep in a reporter protection program.

Peter's real bio: Toronto Star reporter Peter Edwards is the author of 10 nonfiction books, including The Bandido Massacre and One Dead Indian; the Premier, the Police and the Ipperwash Crisis.



Cops or Robbers?

By Don Easton

Juggling fake IDs, sleeping with a gun by his bed and evading contracted hit men used to be just another day in the office for Don Easton, a former undercover RCMP officer. These days he has replaced the gun with a pen, and leaves the intrigue to his protagonists.

Don's real bio:
Don Easton is the author of four previous Jack Taggart Mysteries and is a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police undercover operative who tells it like it is. He lives in Victoria, BC.



Fate Flexes its Muscular Arm

By Mack Furlong

Death merchant Bradley Cummings haunts souqs and bazaars, fathers a bastard son with an Indonesian dictator's daughter, destroys government, unleashes mayhem but escapes to Newfoundland - wealthy, wiser and wanted by Interpol. Cummings' family dies in a mysterious wild animal attack, he changes his name and hides in broadcasting. That's me.

Mack's real bio:
Mack Furlong is a writer (The Great Eastern), actor (Paul Moth) and musician (The Black Auks) who currently hosts The Weekend Arts Magazine on CBC Radio 1 in Newfoundland and Labrador.



Scene and Heard

By Christopher Heard

Whether getting tattooed in LA with Johnny Depp, getting slugged by Jackie Chan or discussing the pleasures of life with Warren Beatty, Christopher Heard's career has been a labyrinthine swirl of celebrity culture and luxury hotels. Here he reveals the magical and exotic nature of "the suite life."

Christopher's real bio:
Christopher Heard has spent more than a dozen years as a TV interviewer and film reviewer for the shows Gilmour on the Arts and Reel to Real. Heard currently co-hosts the radio travel show Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and contributes weekly pop culture commentary to the radio show Bynon's Toronto Weekend. He lives in Toronto.



Just Lucky, I Guess

By Catherine McKenzie

Lawyer by day, author by night, McKenzie will do anything to "write what she knows": going into rehab undercover (Spin), having an arranged marriage (since annulled - Arranged), and letting friends and family believe she was dead for six months (Forgotten). What would you do to get what you always wanted?

Catherine's real bio:
Catherine McKenzie was born in raised in Montreal, where she works as a lawyer. Her first two novels, Spin and Arranged, were national bestsellers. Her third novel, Forgotten, will be released in Spring 2012.



Up from the Couch

By Gina McMurchy-Barber

How did a kid who failed in school become a teacher? Or a girl who never liked to read become a writer? Or a young woman who never wanted to leave home end up working in the jungles of Borneo? This is Gina McMurchy-Barber's own incredible story of overcoming couch-potato-ism.

Gina's real bio:
Gina McMurchy-Barber is the author of Free as a Bird, a finalist for the 2010 Governor General's Literary Award, and Reading the Bones, which was shortlisted for the Langley Book of the Year Award. She is the recipient of the 2004 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. Gina lives in Surrey, BC.


A Life Without Mundanity, Honestly

By Iain Reid

So much has happened in this tremendously un-boring life! Seriously, just boat loads of crazy, riveting stuff. There's essentially no boring bits, really, nothing about Iain napping on the floor or making nightly batches of popcorn. It's all sex and drugs. And there are basically no spelling mistakes either.

Iain's real bio:
Iain Reid has written about music, books, sports and culture in newspapers, magazines and online in publications such as The Globe and Mail, The National Post and Atlantica Magazine. His work has also appeared on CBC Radio and NPR. His first book, One Bird's Choice, was awarded the CBC Bookie Award for Nonfiction. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.



Unnecessarily Handsome and Interesting

By Craig Russell

Tall, vain, unscrupulous, limitlessly ambitious, small, rotund, trustworthy, sardonic, with too high an opinion of his political insights, he not only fills his chair, he fills the room; voice beautiful and untroubled, cheek gracefully modest, he naturally excites intense curiosity. All dogs like him. Is it truth or honesty?

Craig's real bio:
Craig Russell is a lawyer, playwright and author of the Canadian Prix Aurora Best English Novel finalist, Black Bottle Man



Gailforce Rising

By Gail Sidonie Sobat

Gail storms about the world wreaking havoc in her wake. This dervish-like account reveals how a whirlwind life cost her a marriage, several jobs, heretic watchlisting and globe-spanning relocations. When scorpions invaded her Istanbul apartment and feral crows attacked her dog, she fought back, baring cheeks to break continental wind.

Gail's real bio: Gail Sidonie Sobat has written eight books. Her latest, Chance to Dance for You, has been called "a Glee-tastic tale of first crushes, teenaged dreams and the courage in celebrating yourself" by the author Brian Francis. Gail is also the founder of YouthWrite, a writing camp for kids.  

Have you submitted your entry to the Canada Writes Autobiography Challenge yet? You've only got two days left - get writing already! We're giving away an iPad 2!

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set count down final date: 11/01/2014
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