Marni Jackson (Vic68) is a Toronto writer and author who has won numerous National Magazine Awards for her articles and social commentary. Her work has appeared in publications that include Rolling Stone, the London Sunday Times, The Walrus, Maclean’s and Brick magazine, and her three nonfiction books have challenging conventional thinking on subjects that range from the culture of motherhood to the medical treatment of pain. Her first book, “The Mother Zone” was published in 1992, nominated for the Stephen Leacock Award, became a Canadian bestseller, and is still finding a new generation of readers. Her second book, a study of the science and culture of pain, was nominated for the Writers’ Trust Pearson Non fiction prize.
Last year she made her fictional debut with a novel-in-stories called “Don’t I Know You?, published by Flatiron Books in the US, Italy and Canada.“Don’t I Know You?” was named one of the year’s top twenty books on CBC’s Canada Reads. Marni has also written for the theatre and was involved in a Soulpepper Theatre concert that travelled with the company to Broadway lastJuly.
For fourteen years, Marni has also been on the faculty of the Mountain and Wilderness Writing Program at the Banff Centre, where every fall she takes great pleasure in working with explorers, climbers, scientists and poets engaged in writing about our planet. She was a senior editor at the Walrus magazine in its early days,and has worked with her husband Brian D. Johnson on his feature documentary “Al Purdy Was Here’. Marni discovered the poetry of Al Purdy at Vic, in fact, where she was taught a course in Canadian literature by another singular poet, Dennis Lee.
In the nineteen sixties, Marni was a student in the Honours English Language and Literature program and had the great privilege of being taught by Northrop Frye, Dennis Lee, and Jay MacPherson, among others. She worked on the college literary magazine, Acta Victoriana, which published the early work of writers like Margaret Atwood, Greg Hollingshead, and John Bemrose – a previous Pelham Edgar Lecturer. In fact, her years at Vic made a life in publishing and writing seem almost sensible!