Photo of Charlotte Gray

About Charlotte

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best-known writers, and author of nine acclaimed books of literary non-fiction. Born in Sheffield, England, and educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, she began her writing career in England as a magazine editor and newspaper columnist. After coming to Canada in 1979, she worked as a political commentator, book reviewer and magazine columnist before she turned to biography and popular history.

Charlotte's most recent book is The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and The Trial that Shocked a Country. It won the Toronto Book Award and the Toronto Heritage Book Award, and was long-listed for the B.C. Non-fiction Award, and shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Award, the Ottawa Award for Non-Fiction and the Evergreen Award. An adaptation of her 2010 bestseller Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike was broadcast as a television miniseries in early 2014 on the US Discovery Channel, under the title Klondike. In 2008, Charlotte published Nellie McClung, a short biography of Canada’s leading women’s rights activist in the Penguin Series, Extraordinary Canadians. Her 2006 bestseller, Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell, won the Donald Creighton Award for Ontario History and the City of Ottawa Book Award. It was also nominated for the Nereus Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, the National Business Book Award and the Trillium Award. Her previous five books, which include Sisters in the Wilderness, The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill, Flint & Feather, The Life and Times of E. Pauline Johnson and A Museum Called Canada, were all award-winning bestsellers.

Charlotte appears regularly on radio and television as a political and cultural commentator. She was a celebrity panelist, championing Jane Urquhart’s novel Away, in CBC Radio’s annual battle of the books, Canada Reads, with Jian Ghomeshi. In 2004 she was the advocate for Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, for the CBC series: The Greatest Canadian. She has been a judge for several of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes, including the Giller Prize for Fiction, the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. In 2014, she was short-listed as "Author of the Year" by the Canadian Booksellers Association.

Charlotte has been awarded five honorary doctorates, from Mount St. Vincent University, Nova Scotia, the University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, York University and Carleton University.

An Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of History at Carleton University, Charlotte is the 2003 Recipient of the Pierre Berton Award for distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history. She is former chair of the board of Canada’s National History Society, which publishes the magazine  Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver.) She sits on the boards of the Ottawa International Authors Festival, the Art Canada Institute/Institut de l’Art Canadien, and the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa. Charlotte is a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Charlotte lives in Ottawa with her husband George Anderson, and has three sons.

Journalism Awards and Prizes

  • 2007 National Magazine Awards Honourable Mention
    (Chatelaine profile of Naomi Klein)
  • 2006 Western Magazine Gold Award
    (Beaver article on magazine’s history)
  • 2000 National Magazine Awards Honourable Mention
    (Canadian Geographic feature on early photographer)
  • 1998 Ottawa Life Sciences Council Print Media Award
    (Saturday Night article on artificial heart research)
  • 1996 National Magazine Award
    (Saturday Night columns)
  • 1996 Robertine Barry prize, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women
    (Chatelaine feature on sexuality)
  • 1991 Canadian Authors Award
    (Saturday Night article on the Canadian Mint)
  • 1985 Elizabeth Bagshaw Media Award
    (Chatelaine feature on contraceptive research)
  • 1968 Catharine Pakenham Award for most promising journalist in the U.K. under 30

Book Awards and Nominations

The Massey Murder

  • Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for the Best Non-fiction Crime Book of 2014-2015
  • Winner of Toronto Book Award
  • Winner of Heritage Toronto Book Award
  • Winner of Canadian Authors Association Lela Common Award for Canadian History
  • Shortlisted for Libris Award Non-fiction book of the year 2013
  • Shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Award for Non-fiction
  • Shortlisted for the Evergreen Award
  • Shortlisted for the Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction
  • Longlisted for the B.C. Non-fiction Award
  • A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year
  • An Amazon.ca Top 100 Book of the Year
  • Selected for Kitchener-Waterloo Region One Book One Community programme 2014

Gold Diggers

  • A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year
  • US Discovery Channel's 2014 television series Klondike, based on Charlotte's book
  • PBS 2014 documentary on gold rush drawn from Charlotte's book
  • Included in Reader’s Digest North American Encounters 2012, Today’s Best Non-fiction
  • Long-listed for the B.C. Non-fiction Award
  • Shortlisted for the City of Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction

Reluctant Genius

  • In development as a mini-series by Toronto's White Pine Pictures and UK's STV Productions
  • Winner of the Donald Creighton Award for Ontario History
  • Winner of the City of Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction
  • Shortlisted for the Nereus Writers’ Trust Non-fiction Prize
  • Shortlisted for the National Business Book Award
  • Shortlisted for the Trillium Award

The Museum Called Canada

  • Winner of Canadian Authors Association Lela Common Award for Canadian History

Flint & Feather

  • Winner of University of British Columbia Medal for Biography
  • Winner of Drummer-General’s Award
  • Shortlisted for Writers’ Trust Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize
  • Shortlisted for the City of Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction

Sisters in the Wilderness

  • Winner of Floyd S. Chalmers Award in Ontario History
  • Winner of Canadian Booksellers Association Award for Best Non-fiction Book
  • Shortlisted for the City of Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction

Mrs. King

  • One of Canada's Top Forty Non-fiction Books (CBC 2011)
  • Winner of Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction
  • Winner of Canadian Authors Medal for Non-fiction
  • Winner of Heritage Toronto Commendation
  • Shortlisted for Governor-General’s Award for Non-fiction
  • Shortlisted for the City of Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction

Appointments

  • 2005-present Adjunct Research Professor, Department of History, Carleton University
  • April-June, 2008 Writer-in-residence, Berton House, Dawson City, Yukon

Honours

  • 2011 Honorary Doctorate, Carleton University
  • 2009 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
  • 2009 Algonquin College Media Hall of Fame
  • 2007 Member of the Order of Canada
  • 2007 Honorary Doctorate, York University
  • 2006 Honorary Doctorate, Queen’s University
  • 2005 Honorary Doctorate, University of Ottawa
  • 2003 Pierre Berton Award for Distinguished Achievement in Popularizing Canadian History
  • 1995 Honorary Doctorate, Mount St. Vincent University, N.S.

Publicity Photographs

If you want a photograph of Charlotte for publicity material etc, see images below. You are welcome to use one: please credit Valberg Imaging.