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Our hero surfaces in Up Here magazine


You've got to love a shout line on the front of the magazine: "Author Ken McGoogan on Cook, Peary & the Polar Centennial." And the article takes a position. I'm sorry to report that it's not accessible online. Guess Up Here wants you to subscribe. Anyway, the piece beings like so:


One hundred years ago this month one of the worst injustices in Arctic exploration history began unfolding on the northwest coast of Greenland. On April 18, 1909 an American doctor and two Inuit hunters struggled to the top of an icy ridge and looked out over a familiar scattering of igloos. Below, less than a mile away, lay the settlement of Anoatok, which they had left 14 months previously. Exhausted from an unprecedented ordeal, the three rose to their feet and waved, then huddled together and waited while old friends hitched up dog teams and drove out to collect them.

On reaching the bedraggled trio, the rescuers could only gape in disbelief. Emaciated and filthy, with wild, unkempt hair falling to their shoulders, the three looked half-human. But then came recognition, and everybody talking at once, and one of the rescuers, a tall, blond white American, stepped forward from one of the sledges. “Doctor Frederick Cook?” He held out his hand: “Harry Whitney. We are honoured to greet you.”

The doctor and his friends, Etuk and Wela, “had been so long in the chill of impending death,” Cook wrote later, “that compared to Whitney and to the Eskimos about, we were but half-alive.”

Back at the village, speaking English for the first time in more than a year, a dazed Cook learned that Whitney was a sportsman hunting polar bear, and that he had arrived here on a ship with Cook’s old mentor, the explorer Robert E. Peary. While bathing and eating, the exhausted doctor asked about his steward, Rudolph Franke, whom he had left here guarding a shack filled with fox furs and narwhal horns worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Franke had taken sick, he was told. Peary had allowed him to sail home on his second ship on condition that he hand over the doctor’s goods – “like ransom,” Cook wrote later, “sought from an enemy.” Not only that, but Cook learned that Peary had declared him dead, and had installed two crewmen in his shack, where even now they were gorging on the stores he had stowed for his own return.

Despite this unsettling news, Cook remained unflappable. When Whitney remarked on his calm, the doctor told him: “If you keep this quiet for the present, I will tell you some great news. I have reached the Pole.”
Ken McGoogan
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Creative Non-Fiction rolls into the Beaches


YO, THANKS HUGELY FOR YOUR INTEREST! BUT I AM URGENTLY ADVISED THAT BOTH WORKSHOPS MENTIONED BELOW ARE FULL TO OVERFLOWING. FOR THOSE INTERESTED, I WILL BE RUNNING AN EIGHT-WEEK WORKSHOP IN CREATIVE NON-FICTION THIS AUTUMN AT UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, CONTINUING EDUCATION.

Would-be writers are clamoring to learn more about creative non-fiction.
An initial workshop offering at the Beaches Library, slated for April 18, apparently filled up before the advertising went out. So The Writers' Trust of Canada, sponsors of the workshop, asked after a second date, and we settled on May 9.

The revised poster (slightly truncated) reads as follows:

“Discovering Creative Non-Fiction”
Saturday, April 18, 2009 1pm – 3pm
and Saturday, May 9, 2009, 1pm - 3pm
Toronto Public Library – Beaches Branch

What is Creative Non-fiction? How does it differ from academic writing? From short stories and novels? From journalism? After earning two degrees, working as a journalist for three Canadian dailies, and publishing three novels, author Ken McGoogan discovered Creative Non-Fiction and began winning awards.

Starting with Fatal Passage, a national bestseller that won four prizes, Ken has applied CNF techniques to four acclaimed books. He will take you behind the scenes of his own work with a slide-show presentation that ranges from London, England to Orkney, and from Tasmania to the High Arctic.

Does the non-fiction novel exist? What is immersion reporting? Should we try to distinguish between literary journalism, narrative non-fiction and polemical non-fiction? Ken will explore these questions while leading a dynamic workshop that gets people writing and sharing on the spot.

KEN MCGOOGAN, whose books include Lady Franklin's Revenge and Race to the Polar Sea, teaches Creative Non-Fiction at University of Toronto. A recipient of the Pierre Berton Award for History, Ken is vice-chairman of the Public Lending Right Commission. He lives in the Beaches.

REGISTRATION IS FREE BUT SPACE IS LIMITED

MAKE THAT GONE, SORRY!
Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.

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