Sudbury

One on One with Markus — Mick Lowe

Mick Lowe has always loved books. The Sudbury author remembers reading constantly as a young boy, growing up in Nebraska in the 1960s.

Lowe, who came to Canada as a draft dodger in the 1970s, was a founding producer at CBC Sudbury

Sudbury author and former journalist Mick Lowe is working on his next book project, a memoir about his life growing up in the United States. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Mick Lowe has always loved books.

The Sudbury author remembers reading constantly as a young boy, growing up in Nebraska in the 1960s.

"I would take a book to my Little League games. I would sit on the bench, I would read a book. I would go into the outfield, I'd be reading a book," Lowe said.

His favourite books were about the military and the Second World War — an ironic choice, given that he would later come to Canada as a draft dodger during the Vietnam war.

At the time, Lowe was a 22 year old student at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

"I became politicized on campus through the Students for a Democratic Society, which was doing a lot of agitation around the Vietnam War, and it absolutely galvanized me," he said.

"Changed my life."

Mick Lowe was a powerful person in Sudbury. He was a journalist at the Northern Life newspaper. He freelanced for the Globe and Mail. Many of the stories that went national over the years, were written by Mick Lowe. He was also the first producer at CBC Radio in Sudbury. He's survived cancer, has written a trilogy of novels, and is still writing. There's more to know about Mick Lowe and you can hear some of it in this week's edition of One on One with Markus. 16:00

From Vancouver to Ottawa to Sudbury

Lowe hitchhiked to Vancouver, where he laid low among a community of draft dodgers, before making his way to Ontario. He started to work in Ottawa, but realized he wasn't happy.

"I was going to become the bureau chief of the Canadian University Press in the fall of '74," he said.

"But I didn't like Ottawa much, so I thought 'Well I'll hitchhike back out west to Calgary, and I'll stop wherever I find a job for a summer.'"

Lowe never made it back west, because in Sudbury he found work with The Northern Life.

He would later make a name for himself as a freelancer with the Globe and Mail, a role which ultimately paved his way to becoming a founding member of CBC Sudbury.

Lowe was the first producer of Morning North and hired the program's first on-air co-hosts.

"It was crazy when we went on the air," he said. "As a producer I had no real-time contact with the hosts live on air. So the show went out, there wasn't a blessed thing I could do about it."

Lowe's time with the program was short-lived, though. He started in April and by the summer he had decided to travel to Europe.

Back to books

He would later return to Sudbury and once again freelanced for the Globe and Mail before returning to his passion: books.

Lowe said he always wanted to write a book, since his days of reading in the dugout.

"I thought that was the most wonderful thing anyone could ever be," he said.

"And that dream stuck with me up until '88 when I did publish my first book [A Conspiracy of Brothers], about a group of outlaw bikers who were in jail, in the Kingston area mainly, claiming they had been wrongly convicted of first and second degree murder."

Later in life, Lowe would encounter a series of health problems that would ultimately affect his life as a writer.

In 1998 he was diagnosed with cancer and referred to Sudbury's newly created cancer treatment centre, where he received radiation.

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Then he had a stroke, that would leave him partially paralyzed on his left side. Lowe was forced to leave his home and became a resident a Pioneer Manor.

There he realized his long-time goal to write fiction, something he had struggled to achieve in the past.

"I wanted to entertain myself. I thought, 'Maybe I'll start one of these novels that I've been wanting to do," he said.

"I have to say that I owe a lot of...that epiphany about fiction writing as opposed to non-fiction to my disability."

Now, at the age of 71, he's working on his next project: a memoir about his life growing up in the U.S.

"I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm writing about me."

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