Member Profile

Eric Enno Tamm

Photo: Eric Enno Tamm 2006

Eric Enno Tamm is an author, journalist and analyst with more than 15 years experience in the media and nonprofit sector. His first book, Beyond The Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell, was a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book in 2005. His second book, The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China, was published in 2010 by Douglas & McIntyre.

Eric has worked as executive director of the B.C. Coastal Community Network, communications director of Ecotrust Canada, and as a correspondent in Europe. His writing has appeared in Wallpaper*, The Globe and Mail, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Canadian Geographic, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star, among others.

Born in Tofino B.C., Eric developed his interest in history and current affairs at a young age. His father, an Estonian refugee, would often recount gripping first-hand accounts of the Soviet invasion of the Baltic States during the Second World War. At the age of 15, Eric became the editorial cartoonist for the local newspaper, and went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a master’s degree in European affairs from Lund University in Sweden. Eric remained in Sweden for three years, working as the Nordic Contributing Editor for Wallpaper* magazine.

While studying in Lund, a Finnish friend told him about Gustaf Mannerheim’s epic trek from St. Petersburg to Peking in 1906. Several years later, and back in Vancouver, Eric read Mannerheim’s travel journal and was mesmerized by its piercing insights and the striking parallels between the country’s modernization in the late Qing Dynasty and Communist China today. He began intensive historical research and logistical planning to retrace Mannerheim’s route on the centennial in 2006.

However, before he departed his home in Vancouver, the Chinese consulate, through its network of spies and informants, caught wind of his plans to venture into China’s restive and rugged borderlands. He was repeatedly denied a visa. Like Mannerheim, he devised a cover and snuck into China’s back of beyond.

The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds chronicles two epic journeys along the Silk Road—past and present—that offer a cautionary tale about the breathtaking rise of modern China.

Eric currently lives Ottawa, Canada, where he continues to write and consult with environmental groups on fisheries policy, communications and social media and market strategies.

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Publications

Beyond The Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspire John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell. Raincoast (Canada), Da Capo Press (USA), 2004
The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China. Douglas & McIntyre (Canada), Counterpoint Press (USA), Otava Publishing (Finland), 2010

Awards

Ottawa Book Award for Nonfiction for The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China, 2011
Kiriyama Prize Notable Book for Beyond The Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspire John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell, 2005
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :
Yes

WITS

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Northern OAC WITS:
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GST not applicable