I’m an Edmonton-based writer, journalist, editor, filmmaker, commentator, educator, and small-business owner.
I’ve worked for such outlets as The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, CBC TV, and The Guardian, and appeared on Al Jazeera, WNYC, and other networks. My book Praying to the West, won the 2022 Wilfred Eggelston Nonfiction Award and a Gold Nautilus Book Prize, and was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021.
Since 2019, I’ve co-produced two documentaries with CBC, including Digging in the Dirt, a raw look at the psychological toll of oil and gas labour that was nominated for best longform documentary by the Alberta Film & Television Awards. My latest film The Last Baron, which I wrote, directed, and narrated, was hailed as “one of the best Canadian food documentaries” by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and is currently being expanded into a feature re-titled The Lebanese Burger Mafia
My journalism career began in 2006 as an arts reporter and film critic. I’ve since become a generalist, writing on food, science, business and everything in between. My stories have earned 14 National Magazine Awards nominations (and three wins); the 2017 Mindset Award for Workplace Mental Health Reporting; and selection in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and Best Canadian Essays anthologies. In addition, I’ve edited for magazines, hosted podcasts, given keynote addresses, and coauthored/ghostwrote several memoirs, including the national bestseller Inside the Inferno: A Firefighter’s Story of the Brotherhood that Saved Fort McMurray.
I was honoured with the City of Edmonton’s 2013 Northlands Emerging Artist of the Year award and, in 2014, Avenue magazine put me on its annual Top 40 Under 40 list. I also served as the Edmonton Public Library’s 2013 Writer in Residence and am currently on the board of directors for PEN Canada and LitFest, Canada’s nonfiction book festival.
As an educator, I teach the business of freelance journalism and creative nonfiction at various schools, including my own—Pandemic University School of Writing, a virtual school I founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 fallout. Its courses and webinars have been attended by more than 3,500 people from 60 countries. The “PanU” community has collectively raised over $10,000 for literary causes and facilitated $2,000 in scholarships on behalf of Good Samaritan writers.