Patricia Pearson is a critically-acclaimed journalist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, among other publications. 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 reporting and commentary appears regularly on matters ranging from wildlife conversation to mental health to murder, in media spanning 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 a book about what people experience when they die. The documentary version of her book, A Brief History of Anxiety…Yours and Mine aired on the CBC in 2012, and recently won a Rocky Award from the Banff Global Television Festival. She has also won three National Magazine Awards, and the Arthur Ellis Award for best non-fiction book of 1998.

She and her family have a Shetland sheepdog, who may or may not be caught between dimensions. He once spent thirty minutes barking at a Glenn Campbell record cover.

Patricia Pearson apologizes for being too eclectic to successfully brand, but she wishes to point out that her arched eyebrow has been fairly consistent, as has her capacity for genuinely researching before challenging received wisdoms. So, maybe a branding company could think of her as Michael Moore — assuming that he’d pursued doctoral study in history at the University of Chicago and didn’t wear baseball caps and wasn’t American and had a pet hedgehog. Or they could go for the concept of Annie Dillard guest-starring on Modern Family yet knowing a great deal about criminology. Or, you know what? Never mind. Critics keep calling Patricia Pearson genre-busting, put it that way.

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 during the Toronto International Film Festival.

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.” That would be her husband, Ambrose Pottie, a truly wonderful musician.

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

You can contact Patricia at

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