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Patricia Pearson

Novelist, journalist

Patricia Pearson is a novelist and journalist who has won three National Magazine Awards, a National Author’s Award, and the Arthur Ellis Award for best non-fiction crime book of 1998. Her five books have been published in several countries including Indonesia, and she regrets that she was never able to ascertain what the Indonesians thought of her writing. She keeps meaning to find this out, but then it slides down the typically crisis-driven To Do list of a working mother.

She was a 2003 finalist for the Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for her best-selling comic novel, Playing House, which was later adapted for television. This has little to do with the fact that Pearson’s serious commentary appears regularly on matters ranging from mental health to murder, in media ranging from the New York Times to NPR. Nor that she recently oversaw the research for a History Channel documentary on “The Science of the Soul,” and is currently working on screenplays.

Patricia Pearson apologizes for being eclectic.

A friend recently gave Patricia Pearson a fridge magnet that says “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize that I should have been more specific.”

Pearson’s writing has been anthologized in a confusing array of publications, from the Penguin Anthology of Canadian Humour, to the feminist essay collection Dropped Threads: Beyond the Small Circle, to the American textbook Failures of Criminal Investigation.

Camille Paglia once called her a “stupid bitch.” According to witnesses, Pearson was chewing gum and wearing a glamourous hat, which may inadvertently have come across as impudent.

Liam Neeson once bought Patricia Pearson a drink, to thank her for vacating the last available table in a bar.

Justin Trudeau talked to her at a party, but she was drunk and cannot remember what he said.

She met the Queen when she was little, because her grandfather was former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson (that’s him on the left with JFK). Her grandmother Maryon fondly quoted Dorothy Parker’s quip, “behind every successful man stands a surprised woman,” to which her granddaughter now adds: “behind every successful woman stands a man who is knee-deep in dishes.”

Patricia is represented by the Canadian Writers Group in Toronto, and by Sarah Lazin Books in New York.

You can contact Patricia at
How I (Almost) Totally Blew My

How I (Almost) Totally Blew My TEDTalk

I was asked to be funny, and to try to mention gadgets, as TED audiences tend to like seeing fancy innovations. Given that my speech was about grief and spirituality, I wasn't sure where to fit in a pen that can be recycled as a plant, or a smart shirt that senses your temperament.
02/12/2013 05:23 EST
Science and Religion: Why You Don't Have to imageZebra: Shutterstock

Science and Religion: Why You Don't Have to Choose

A friend's kid said to me the other day: "I'm a Darwinist...I don't believe in God." Okay, I thought, hold on there kid. Darwin wasn't a prophet who started an "-ism," and Science isn't a faith. We need to get rid of some of the category confusion that has crept into current debates and percolated down to secular kids. It can be tempting to respond to the sheer idiocy of American Creationists like Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA,) who recently described evolution and the Big Bang as "lies straight from the pit of Hell" by broadly rejecting religion. But these are not either-or categories and it is startling that they should have become so.
10/09/2012 07:43 EDT
Cut The 1812 Commercials. Like, Seriously.

Cut The 1812 Commercials. Like, Seriously. Now.

Would the federal government please cut it out with their War of 1812 ads? One minute, I'll be watching some riveting event of sportsmanship at the Olympics, and then suddenly CTV cuts to commercial, and I'm treated to an array of cartoonishly noble characters attired in soldierly red coat and womanly bonnet, circa Regency England, with platoons aiming bayonets at the American frenemy, and I'm like: WTF, federal government?
08/08/2012 08:02 EDT
My Holiday in a Nudist

My Holiday in a Nudist Camp

You know that dream you have where you're in a restaurant, or the office, and you suddenly realize that you don't have any pants on? Well, that happened to me recently -- only it wasn't a dream.
07/17/2012 01:14 EDT
Harper Spin Put Under Third-Party CP

Harper Spin Put Under Third-Party Management

Given the Harper government's frequent pronouncements about how they have "heavily invested" in Attawapiskat, I'm sure some of you are puzzled about its third-world conditions. I've decided to place Harper's communications department under third-party management until all of the facts are sorted out.
12/07/2011 12:05 EST
Attawapiskat's Abandonment Charlie Angus

Attawapiskat's Abandonment Crisis

What this is about is distance. A distant bureaucracy from a distant culture imposing baffling edicts and regulations on a group of people who were highly self-sufficient hunters and trappers for thousands of years before they wandered into the quicksand of the Indian Act.
11/29/2011 05:27 EST