Margaret Wente has enjoyed a successful career in Canadian journalism as both a writer and editor. Since 1992 she has been a leading columnist for The Globe and Mail and has twice won the National Newspaper Award for her writing. Born in Chicago, she moved to Toronto in her teens, and holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Toronto. Margaret Wente lives in Toronto with her husband, television documentary producer, Ian McLeod. Her first book, An Accidental Canadian, was a national bestseller in 2004.
HarperCollins Canada 2009
You Can't Say That in Canada
“In Canada, you don’t have to go out of your way to offend someone. It just happens naturally.” –– Margaret Wente
Margaret Wente knows what enrages Canadians the most. It’s having their most cherished beliefs attacked in the pages of The Globe and Mail. For this sin she has been picketed outside the building, shouted down by protestors, and targeted on a Facebook site called ‘Fire Margaret Wente.’
But even when they disagree with her conclusions and fire off angry letters in response, most Globe and Mail readers still report that her column is the first thing they turn to in the newspaper. When The Economist chose the most influential newspaper columnists in twenty countries, Margaret Wente was the only Canadian journalist to make the list.
As she did so successfully in her bestselling first book, An Accidental Canadian, Margaret Wente here weaves the story of her own life through her observations of the current scene. Wente takes us from the newsroom (where she conveys just what it's like to have a regular newspaper column) to the mailroom (describing how people react to what she writes). In her opening chapter she recounts the biggest uproars her columns have caused –– from the one that compared Newfoundland to a deadbeat brother-in-law to another that questioned the notion that First Nations cultures were once as advanced as European societies. Less controversial are her more personal articles, the ones that get put on fridge doors or pinned to bulletin boards. In these she tries to make sense of life as a woman, a boomer/mid-lifer dealing with husbands, kids, or aging parents.
But You Can’t SAY That in Canada is largely comprised of new and previously unpublished material, carefully crafted into an original, engaging narrative. As she notes in the introduction, part of the pleasure of creating this book has been revisiting issues she cares about with the wisdom of hindsight, and discovering “I don’t always agree with me either.”
Here is Margaret Wente at her very best, bringing her trademark candour, warmth and wit to a book with sure-fire appeal for both her existing fans and new readers alike.