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Dorris Heffron

Photo: Michelle Valberg 2018

Born in Noranda, Quebec, Dorris Heffron has an Honours B.A.and M.A. in Literature and Philosophy from Queen's University, Canada. Heffron lived in Oxford, England from 1968-1980 where she was a tutor for Oxford University and The Open University, giving courses in Literature. While there, she wrote three novels about teenagers, published by Macmillan, London. Internationally acclaimed, they are regarded as pioneers in the genre of young adult fiction. They were translated and put on highschool courses in Europe, Japan and Canada.  During sabbaticals, she taught creative writing at the University of Malaysia and resided while writing and teaching, in Holland, France and Cape Breton Island. Heffron returned to Toronto in 1980.

She has served on the National Council of The Writers' Union, the Board of Directors of PEN Canada, The Writers Trust of Canada, the Toronto Arts Council and the Board of Directors of the Native Men's Residence. She has been a library writer-in-residence and book reviewer for the Globe and Mail.

Dorris Heffron was  Chair of The Writers' Union of Canada June 2013 to June 2014.

Heffron's first adult's novel, the popular, A Shark in the House    is about a woman dentist in Toronto who reluctantly finds herself involved in the aboriginal standoff at Oka. Told with humour and compassion, it is a story of love and striving, death and survival, of people on both sides of the barricades.

Heffron's new novel, City Wolves    is the story of Canada's first woman veterinarian who becomes the notorious 'Dog Doctor of Halifax' in the 1890s and winds up in the Klondike gold rush tending sled dogs. At the heart of the novel is the ancient story of how wolves became sled dogs. Uniquely Canadian and profoundly universal, City Wolves  subtley reveals the human nature of wolves and the wolf-life nature of humans.

Dorris Heffron  lives on a property called Little Creek Wolf Range, two hours north of Toronto. 

For more about her novels,  writing career and recent articles by or about her, visit her website:

Phone number:


CITY WOLVES. Dundurn Press Ltd., 2008 in paperback 2010
A SHARK IN THE HOUSE. Key Porter Books and Amazon ebooks, 1996.
RAIN AND I. Macmillan UK and Canada, 1982
CRUSTY CROSSED. Macmillan UK and Canada, 1976
A NICE FIRE AND SOME MOONPENNIES. Macmillan UK and Canada, 1971
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

Dorris Heffron will do presentations  and readings from her latest novel, City Wolves  at public libraries or book stores and happily attend book clubs (within driving range of Toronto) that have selected City Wolves , or her previous novel, A Shark in the House.

She is a prize winning public speaker and will speak informatively and entertainingly about writing novels, including contemporary and historical fiction and pioneering young adult fiction. Her topic: Pioneering Novels: A Canadian Writer's Story  has proven popular with audiences across Canada, at universities, literary socities, historical societies, Probus Clubs, writing groups, libraries, literary festivals, all kinds of venues and organizations interested in some history of Canadian writing.      

It's an interesting story with Heffron starting her career in England, at age 25, publishing with the vernerable Macmillan, London her controversial novel about a Canadian teenager, in 1970 when there was a lot of resistance to "vulgar North American novels about teenagers". But her realistic novels prevailed and eventually became internationally acclaimed. Each of her novels has been pioneering in some respect, each a new venture, especially City Wolves  which in a profound sense was led, indeed driven by her sled dog, Yukon Sally. Upon request, she will bring her sled dog with her!

Presentation Length:
40 min.- 1 hour
Audience size:
Northern OAC WITS:
One session:
One session:
GST not applicable