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Tom King

Arts and Culture (2003)

The world owes Helen Hoy a big thank you. “I needed to impress her,” famed novelist, scholar, screenwriter and literary giant Tom King said of his partner. “She loved good food and good writing. My cooking didn’t impress her so I tried to impress her with my writing.” It’s a good thing Mr. King tried. Years after he put down the frying pan and took up a pen, he is one of Canada’s leading authors. He’s written four best-selling novels, numerous television scripts and award-winning works of short fiction and non-fiction featuring Aboriginal themes. “Native people in the contemporary world, it’s a topic I could write about until the day I die,” he says. Millions of Canadians know him as the creative force behind CBC Radio’s Dead Dog Café Comedy Hour. With humour as his vehicle, Mr. King has brought First Nations issues to the forefront of Canadian society. He has cleverly used Dead Dog Café as a vehicle for mainstream Canada to learn about some serious issues affecting the Aboriginal community and a window into the Aboriginal culture. By making Canadians laugh, Mr. King makes us all think about and face the country’s Aboriginal reality. A Professor at the University of Guelph, Mr. King will be giving this year’s Massey Lectures. In doing so, this Cherokee joins a select group that includes John Kenneth Galbraith, Martin Luther King and Noam Chomsky in being asked to deliver Canada’s most significant public lecture series. A recent member of the jury selection panel for the esteemed Giller book prize, Tom King is much more than an artist, he is a Renaissance man. And a funny one at that. Just ask Helen.