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David Lee

David Lee

Photo: David Neil Lee, Chimney Coulee, Saskatchewan

As of 2022 David Neil Lee is finishing up his YA "Midnight Games" trilogy, all published by Poplar Press/Wolsak & Wynn: The Midnight Games (2015), The Medusa Deep (2021) and The Great Outer Dark (2022). This year his Véhicule book Stopping Time: Paul Bley and the Transformation of Jazz will be published in Italian by Quodlibet.

After studying English at UBC, David Lee worked for Toronto’s Coda Magazine, toured and recorded on double bass and cello, and ran the publishing house Nightwood Editions with his wife Maureen Cochrane. Returning to the west coast, he continued to play music and write, co-founded the Pender Harbour Jazz Festival, and worked in local resource industries while he and Maureen raised their two sons.

In 2004 David completed the MA in Music Criticism at McMaster University, and in 2017 he received his PhD in English from the University of Guelph, writing his dissertation on the history of Toronto improvised music. In 2014 he presented a paper on Toronto’s Artists’ Jazz Band at the Rhythm Changes Conference in Amsterdam, and launched the new edition of his acclaimed The Battle of the Five Spot at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City. 

For his latest books, David has added his middle name, Neil, for reasons of googling.

Selected publications: The Medusa Deep (Poplar Press/Wolsak & Wynn, Hamilton, 2021) The Midnight Games (Poplar Press/Wolsak & Wynn, Hamilton, 2015). Commander Zero (Tightrope Books, Toronto, 2012). The Battle of the Five Spot: Ornette Coleman and the New York Jazz Field (3d ed. Revised, Wolsak & Wynn, Hamilton, 2014; first pub. By The Mercury Press, Toronto 2006) Chainsaws: A History (Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park 2006) Stopping Time: Paul Bley and the Transformation of Jazz (Véhicule Press, Montreal 1999) Four-Wheeling on Southern Vancouver Island (Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park 1997) Into the Night Life: Canadian Writers & Artists at Work (ed. with Maureen Cochrane, Nightwood Editions, Toronto 1986).

Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Are you available for public presentations and/or workshops:
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School Presentation Description:

A discussion of improvisation and writing.

School Presentation Length:
40 minutes
School Intended Audience:
I specialize in YA - 10-18
School Audience Size:
Whoever is there!
School Presentation Fee:
Interested in participating in the Union’s Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools program:
Interested in participating in the Northern Ontario WITS program: