Member Profile

Charles Wilkins

Photo: Duncan Weller 2011

Charles Wilkins (website charleswilkins.ca) is the author of fifteen books, including The Circus at the Edge of the Earth (about his travels with the Great Wallenda Circus), Walk to New York (about his 2002 walk from Thunder Bay to New York City), and In the Land of Long Fingernails (a memoir about a summer he spent working in a large Toronto cemetery). He is the co-author of two international bestsellers, Paddle to the Amazon and After the Applause.

In 2011, Wilkins undertook the most exhilarating and daring of his numerous adventures as a writer. At the age of 63, he joined a crew of 16 and, after a year of intense training, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in a fragile experimental rowboat. He was motivated (in his own words) “by a lifelong fascination with exotic travel, by a deep curiosity about the planet, and by a question: What would happen if rather than merely enduring risk and uncertainty as we add years, we decided instead to embrace risk, to juice up on it… reclaim our bodies… re-establish ground.” The result of that Atlantic crossing is Wilkins’ most recent book, Little Ship of Fools, published by Greystone Books.

Four of Wilkins’ books have been named to the Globe & Mail’s annual Top 100 Books (1999, 2001, 2004, 2008), and he has won five National Magazine Awards. He has been a finalist for the Writers Trust Non-Fiction Prize, the Trillium Literary Award, the Stephen Leacock Award and the Toronto Book Award. He has three children and divides his time between Thunder Bay, on the north shore of Lake Superior, and his cabin in Muskoka, Ontario.

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada

Publications

Walk to New York: A Journey Out of the Wilds of Canada. Penguin, 2004.
A Wilderness Called Home: Dispatches from the Wild Heart of Canada. Penguin, 2001.
The Circus at the Edge of the Earth: Travels with the Great Wallenda Circus. McClelland & Stewart, 1998.
Breakfast at the Hoito: And Other Adventures in the Boreal Heartland. Natural Heritage, 1997.
Breakaway. McClelland & Stewart, 1996.
In the Land of Long Fingernails. Penguin, 2008
Little Ship of Fools. Greystone, 2013
The Wild Ride. Stanton, Atkins, Dosil, 2011
High on the Big Stone Heart. Dundurn, 2010
Old Mrs. Shmatterbung and Other Friends. McClelland & Stewart, 1989

Awards

Elizabeth Kouhi Award for a career contribution to the literature of northern Ontario., 2006
Listed, Globe and Mail 100 Best Books for The Circus at the Edge of the Earth, 1998.
Listed, Globe and Mail 100 Best Books for Walk to New York, 2004.
Finalist, Writers' Trust of Canada Non-Fiction Prize for The Circus at the Edge of the Earth, 1998.
Listed, Globe and Mail 100 Best Books for In the Land of Long Fingernails, 2008
Finalist: Stephen Leacock Award for In the Land of Long Fingernails, 2009
Finalist: Toronto Book Award for In the Land of Long Fingernails, 2009
Finalist: Ontario Trillium Award for In the Land of Long Fingernails, 2009
Longlist: Charles Taylor Award for Little Ship of Fools, 2014
Five National Magazine Awards for various magazine stories, 1995- 2012
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :
Yes

WITS

Presentation Description
Workshop Description:
Northern OAC WITS:
No
GST:
GST not applicable