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Ian Brown spins heartache into a dazzling tour de force

That’s what they call a tour de force.
Wise, witty, modulated, informative, entertaining: take your pick.
Or, no, put it this way: as a speaker, Ian Brown is in the same league as Stephen Lewis.
We’re talking eloquence. Yes, I mean dazzling.
Brown kicked off a lecture series called Journalism in the Public Square at the University of King’s College. He talked Friday night about his “broken boy,” Walker, the subject of his award-winning book The Boy in the Moon.
Imagine trying to be funny while evoking the heartbreak of raising a severely disabled child. Brown managed that miracle.
He was modest and self-deprecating, and he laced his hour-long talk with brilliant one-liners. He talked about how tears ran down his cheeks while he wrote the book: “I’m not a crier,” he insisted. “I’m a journalist. I barely have a soul.”
He talked about how his son had helped him to evolve ethically: “And I’m from Toronto. We have no values at all.” He explained that, thanks to advances in medical technology, his son was “a new genre of human being.” He took a beat, then added: “I loathe certainty, and that I say with certainty.”
Maybe you had to be there. But for the 200 or so people who crowded into a standing-room only theatre, Brown created an event they won't forget.
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.