Ken McGoogan
Ken  McGoogan Ken  McGoogan

B.A.A, Journalism (Ryerson); M.F.A., Creative Writing (UBC)

Ken McGoogan is a globe-trotting Canadian writer who survived shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, chased the ghost of Lady Franklin from Russell Square to Van Diemen’s Land, and placed a John Rae memorial plaque in the High Arctic. The author of fifteen books, Ken has won numerous prizes (see below), among them the Pierre Berton Award for a body of work and an American Christopher Medal for “a work of artistic excellence that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” Before turning full-time to writing books in 1999, he worked across Canada as a journalist—most notably as books editor and columnist at the Calgary Herald. Ken has served as writer-in-residence in Stromness, Banff, Fredericton, Dawson City, Toronto and Hobart, and has appeared at literary festivals in New Orleans, Vancouver, Calgary, Edinburgh, London (Ontario), Edmonton, Ottawa and Melbourne. Ken is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Explorers Club and Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. He has served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, writes for such publications as Canadian Geographic, Celtic Life International and the Globe and Mail, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian on Arctic/Celtic voyages. Details at www.kenmcgoogan.com.

Selected Publications


  • FLIGHT OF THE HIGHLANDERS: The Making of Canada. (Toronto: Patrick Crean Editions / HarperCollins Canada, 2019).
  • DEAD RECKONING: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage. (Toronto: Patrick Crean Editions / HarperCollins Canada, 2017).
  • CELTIC LIGHTNING: How the Scots and the Irish Created a Canadian Nation. (Toronto: Patrick Crean Editions / HarperCollins Canada, 2015).
  • 50 CANADIANS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2013).
  • HOW THE SCOTS INVENTED CANADA (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2010)
  • RACE TO THE POLAR SEA: The Heroic Adventures and Romantic Obsessions of Elisha Kent Kane (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada; Berkeley, U.S.: Counterpoint Press, 2008).
  • LADY FRANKLIN’S REVENGE: A True Story of Ambition, Obsession and the Remaking of Arctic History (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, Bantam/Transworld U.K., 2005).
  • ANCIENT MARINER: The Amazing Adventures of Samuel Hearne, the Sailor Who Walked to the Arctic Ocean (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, Bantam/ Transworld U.K., Carroll & Graf U.S., 2003).
  • FATAL PASSAGE: The Untold Story of John Rae, the Arctic Adventurer Who Discovered the Fate of Franklin (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, Bantam/ Transworld/Bantam U.K., Carroll & Graf U.S., 2001) [Turned into an award-winning, feature-length docudrama called PASSAGE / Ken as consultant.]
  • CANADA’S UNDECLARED WAR: Fighting Words from the Literary Trenches. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises, 1991.
  • GOING FOR GOLD, with Catriona Le May Doan. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2002.


  • KEROUAC’S GHOST. Toronto, Bev Editions, 2016. VISIONS OF KEROUAC: Satori Magic Edition. Toronto: Willow Avenue Books, 2008; Nova Scotia: Pottersfield Press, 1993; KEROUAC’S GHOST (Montreal: Robert Davies Publishing, 1996). The novel was published in Quebec and France as LE FANTOME DE KEROUAC, Balzac-Le-Griot, 1998.

Awards and Honours


Pierre Berton Award for Canadian History; University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography; Christopher Award, New York, for “a work of artistic excellence that affirms the highest values of the human spirit”; Writers’ Trust of Canada / Drainie-Taylor Biography Award; Canadian Authors’ Association Award for History; Grant MacEwan Author’s Award; Writers’ Guild of Alberta non-fiction award; Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, Lady Franklin’s Revenge; University of Toronto, Continuing Education, Teaching Excellence; Reader’s Digest: Best Historical Writer; University of Cambridge, Wolfson College Fellowship.


  1. W. Dafoe Book Prize; Keith Matthews Award; B.C. National Book Award for Non-Fiction; Evergreen Award, Ontario Library Association; National Magazine Awards / profiles; Writers’ Guild of Alberta non-fiction award; Banff Book Festival adventure-travel award; W.O. Mitchell / City of Calgary book award.


Moving into Creative Nonfiction from journalism and academe; establishing personal presence as a hallmark of Creative Nonfiction; using point of view to structure a long narrative.