CBC Saskatchewan

  | Bookmark and Share

The World According to Charlie D

Book Cover

Charlie D is the shadowy host of a late night radio talk show, who first appeared as a character in Gail Bowen's Joanne Kilbourne mysteries. Charlie D became a character in a series of CBC radio plays produced in Regina--that ultimately played all over the world. That lead to Charlie becoming the hero of his own series of mystery novels--the fourth, The Thirteenth Rose, is due out this March. And this week you get to hear how it all started.

The World According to Charlie D comes back to the Saskatchewan airwaves in this special celebratory broadcast.


Tell me Charlie D's full last name, (best guess spelling is okay) and enter to win a set of Gail Bowen's Charlie D mysteries!

Gail Bowen was born Gail Bartholomew in Toronto in 1942. She learned to read by age three from tombstones in Prospect Cemetery, a facility that was extremely useful when she was struck by polio two years later. She was educated at the University of Toronto (B.A.), University of Waterloo (M.A.), and the University of Saskatchewan, where she almost completed a PhD After a series of extension-course teaching contracts in small-town locations across Saskatchewan and a ten-year sessional stint with the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, University of Regina, she was granted tenure in the English department of the university in 1986, one year before the publication of 1919; the love letters of George and Adelaide, a novella written in collaboration with Ron Marken. She recently retired as associate professor at the First Nations University of Canada.

Bowen has received widespread acclaim for her detective series featuring Joanne Kilbourn. it is the added elements of the books with which her readers empathize: complex family interactions alongside every-day domestic details, prairie urban life and work, the ever-present prairie weather, and the realistic and dimensional portrayal of contemporary Indigenous peoples, and Bowen has much in common with the fictional Kilbourne. Both are teachers at Saskatchewan universities, sometime TV panelists, and each has several children and a politically connected husband. In Bowen's case the husband is Ted Bowen; the children are Hildy (34), Max (32), and Nat (27). Gail also has five miraculous grandchildren: Madeleine and Alejandra Bowen Diaz; Benjamin Bowen-Bell and Peyton and Lexi Benjamin Bowen.

There are now fourteen titles in the bestselling mystery series featuring Joanne Kilbourn with the upcoming release of The Gifted.  The first six books in the series have appeared as made-for-television movies with world-wide distribution. Winner of both the Arthur Ellis Best Novel Award and the Derrick Murdoch Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Crime Writers of Canada, in 2008 Bowen was named "Canada's Best Mystery Novelist" by Reader's Digest. She was selected as one of "The 100 Most Popular Contemporary Mystery Authors" by a Library Unlimited reference book.

Bowen has had four plays produced at Regina's Globe Theatre -- Dancing in Poppies (in 1993), an adaptation of 1919; Beauty and the Beast (in 1993); The Tree (in 1994); and an adaptation of Peter Pan (in 1997). Manitoba Theatre for Young People chose her adaptation of Peter Pan as its 2000 Christmas production. The Grand Theatre in London Ontario presented Dancing in Poppies in October 2002 and Peter Pan as its Christmas production in 2003. Bowen's adaptation of Doctor Dolittle was broadcast on CBC Radio in April 2006 and at Christmas 2006, and a University of Regina Theatre production played in Moose Jaw and Regina. Bowen's radio play The World According to Charlie D. was broadcast on CBC's Showcase in October 2006, and was followed by Charlie D 2: First Time Caller, Longtime Listener, which was the 2008 Canadian submission to WorldPlay--an international festival of public radio drama, and was heard around the world. Her play Saving Lonesome George was  produced by Persephone Theatre in March 2008.


Tell me Charlie D's full last name, (best guess spelling is okay) and enter to win a set of Gail Bowen's Charlie D mysteries!


Patrick McManus

From the moment Charlie D.'s director/dramaturge Kelley Jo Burke started thinking about the casting of Charlie D., she had a short list of one: Patrick McManus. And from the moment Patrick walked into the studio--revved up his rolling chair and launched himself into Charlie's outrageous, lyrical patter--no one else could ever imagine anyone else playing the part. A lead actor at the Shaw festival, and one of Canada's acting lights, Patrick's twangy rich voice and sharply intelligent stage presence has impressed audiences all over North America.


He is joined in the cast of this first Charlie D radio mystery by the wonderful Wendy Anderson, Kelly Handerek, Rob Benz, Danial Maslany, and Jeanne Freeman.