To gain a better sense of my work, especially recent credits, please spend a few minutes on this site.
Writers’ Trust Fellowship 2018
Jury Citation: “The range, depth, and beauty of Charles Foran’s work is an astounding feat. Few authors in Canada or the world write as eloquently or expertly about literary lions and hockey legends; about the Irish Troubles and post-Tiananmen Square China; about lives caught in the public gaze of history or in their most intimate encounters. In a body of work that spans the tail end of one century and the beginning of another, he’s proven just as adventurous in his choices of genre — moving in and out of fiction, literary nonfiction, journalism, biography, criticism, and advocacy for freedom of speech and diverse societies. The Writers’ Trust salutes and welcomes to its fellowship an indispensable voice in Canadian literature, a masterful storyteller who has helped us understand ourselves and the world around us one book, one essay, one campaign, at a time. ” — 2018 Writers’ Trust Fellowship Jury
My piece about Leonard Cohen’s posthumous poetry collection, The Flame, for The Walrus, December 2018.
Leonard Cohen’s Afterlife.
Read the full piece here
My conversation with Chris Hedges, published in the Literary Review of Canada, summer 2018
There is no plan b; Chris Hedges on the collapse of America
Read the full piece here
Charlie Foran to step down as the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s CEO
Architect of 6 Degrees to complete term in 2019
TORONTO, July 11, 2018—Charlie Foran, CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), announced today that he will be completing his term at the helm of the organization in early 2019.
“Charlie has led us through a period of exceptional growth”, said the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, co-founder and co-chair of the ICC. “Over the past four years he has steered the dynamic expansion and reinvention of our cornerstone programs—the Building Citizenship and Cultural Access Pass programs. At the same time, he conceived of and has firmly established 6 Degrees as a driving force in responding to the rise in nativism and exclusion across the globe.”
Launched in 2016, 6 Degrees is an immersive annual three-day forum in Toronto focusing on citizenship and inclusion. Since then, it has grown to include a series of one-day events across Canada and around the world. This year, 6 Degrees Toronto will take place from September 24 to 26, followed by 6 Degrees Berlin on November 12. By the end of Foran’s term, the ICC will have published seven reports through its research arm, Ideas & Insights, and completed the digital transformation of its Cultural Access Pass program.
“When we first asked Charlie to suspend his writing and teaching career to help us achieve our vision of broader global impact, we couldn’t have imagined a quadrupling of the ICC’s work in such a short period”, said John Ralston Saul, co-founder and co-chair. “We are so grateful for the passion and authenticity he brings to the ICC, and for the truly inspirational leadership that will see us through to the start of 2019.”
“It’s been an honour to usher the ICC into its second decade,” said Foran. “The ICC is unique, not just in what we do but also in how we do it. And from the outset, I’ve worked alongside great people—the best way to ensure that the critical work we do on citizenship and inclusion has lasting impact.”
Foran is a Member of the Order of Canada. He is past president of PEN Canada, a senior fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto, and an adjunct professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. He is author of 11 books.
On June 15, 2018, I delivered the commencement address to the St. Michael’s class of 2018 at Convocation Hall.
Read the entire speech here
For my Father, published in the Globe & Mail April 22
David Foran: Woodworker. History buff. Dancer. Husband. Born July 6, 1932, in Ottawa; died Dec. 2, 2017, in Bobcaygeon, Ont.; of serious health issues, including kidney failure; aged 85.
Dave Foran loved Hank Williams and Hank Snow, John Wayne and Gary Cooper. Red wine pleased him greatly, as did baked beans and old cheddar cheese. He was passionate about history, especially Canadian and British, and would take his oldest son on drives around Ontario to point out the remaining Orange Lodges – the source, he believed, of much that was narrow-minded and grim about the province of his upbringing. He worked most contentedly with his hands and for a while built model chariots and crossbows that were put on display at the local library. Once retired, he crafted pine stools, mailboxes and bird houses.
He loved the beauty and sensuality of cats, all the more so for their cold killer hearts.
For sure, Dave Foran loved his three children and, by the end, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. The grandparent role suited him especially: helping his grandsons build a tree fort; watching teen movies over and over with his granddaughters.
Above all else, though, Dave Foran loved Muriel Foran, his wife of 62 years. They met in small town Northern Ontario in the early 1950s. She was second youngest of 12 children born to a mill worker. Dave had survived a disastrous Ottawa childhood and gone into the bush, where he staked claims and hunted his food. Stories told of that time and place suggested a reckless young man, the kind that often did not see his own 25th birthday, or else ended up a rooming-house denizen, his best days long behind.
But he got lucky. While visiting a friend in Blind River, he met Muriel Fallu, a school teacher. Soon they were married and living in a tiny house in the town. Soon after again, they were in the suburbs of Toronto. Children, friendships, a career managing shopping malls, followed. Happy, positive things – the opposite of that childhood, or a protracted life in the bush.
His marriage helped him become a functioning husband, father and friend. He never lost that edge, however, and once, in his late 60s, floored a man half his age for insulting his daughter. He had come through a personal fire, and Muriel was his salvation.
Dave and Muriel Foran loved to dance. To jive especially, the hip hop of their courtship days. They jived fast and fluid, at ease as partners, lovers and best friends. Well into their 70s they danced with such joy, astonishing their grown children, who looked away in deference, sensing that the act was, ultimately, private.
In his own final years, Dave was mostly bedridden, if still his mischievous, unfiltered self. They could no longer dance. But they were together, pretty much every hour of every day, until the end, and she was never less than the great, sustaining love of his life.
See article here.
In February 2018, I interviewed the great novelist Martin Amis at the PEN Canada benefit in Toronto.