"Canada's most versatile writer of history"

historian and author

Chris's Bio

Christopher Moore has been called Canada's most versatile writer of history. He's a Toronto-based writer who has been presenting Canadian history to non-specialist audiences through many media for many years.

Moore's books include 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal, which Dalton Camp called "just about the best book on our history I've ever read," and Louisbourg Portraits: Life in An Eighteenth Century Garrison Town. That book, his first, won the Governor General's Award in non-fiction for 1982. In 2011 From Then to Now: A Short History of the World, won another GG, this time in Children’s Literature. He is the co-author with Janet Lunn of the much-loved history for kids and families, The Story of Canada.  He wrote the 1999 photo-history best-seller Canada: Our Century with Mark Kingwell.

His awards include the Governor General's Award (twice), the Mr. Christie Award and the Children's Literature Roundtable Award, the Secretary of State's Prize for Excellence in Canadian Studies, and an Ontario Legislative Speaker’s Book Prize nomination, as well as recognition from the Canadian Historical Association and the Ontario Historical Society. His achievements have been recognized in the authoritative Canadian Who's Who -- and a Wikipedia page. His journalism has been recognized with three National Magazine Awards nominations.

Moore is a full-time writer. His other writing includes magazine essays, a blog, columns, film scripts, radio documentaries, guidebooks, reference works, and computer simulations. Reviewers have called Christopher Moore "a historian who always writes with grace and intelligence," and "obviously no slave to political correctness." He is a past chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada.

He was commissioned by the Law Society of Upper Canada to write its bicentennial history, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario's Lawyers. Since then has produced a substantial body of work in legal history, including a history of the law firm McCarthy Tetrault and of the Courts of Appeal of British Columbia and Ontario, as well as a long running legal history column in Law Times.

Moore covers Canadian historical news in a long-running column in Canada's leading historical magazine, Canada's History. CBC Radio "Ideas" listeners know his insightful radio documentaries. You can listen to one online right here. His provocative commentaries on history and politics have appeared in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Maclean’s, The Literary Review of Canada, and other periodicals.

The Christopher Moore F.A.Q.

Where do you teach?
I don't teach. I'm a writer. But that's been the most common question I've faced all my working life. When your subject is history, people seem to assume you must teach. But I see history as a cultural pursuit, an intellectual challenge, a literary project.

Do you need a researcher?
Thanks for asking!. But I like to do my own seeking. Not many freelance writers get to have "staff."

How did you become a writer?
Just kept writing on, I suppose, until someone started to publish and read it. But it was my first job, doing historic research at Louisbourg, one of the world's great historic sites, for the historic sites service of Parks Canada, where I found so much to write about that it grew into my first book.

Why do you write Canadian history?
Northrop Frye, the great literary critic, said our Canadian literature is valuable like our geography is. Not that it's better or worse than any other geography, but it's ours. That applies to our history too. I've always found enough here in the history of Canada to keep me challenged and interested. I've always found a lot of people want to know about the same things I want to know about.

Do you write fiction?
Haven't yet. Fiction writers, it seems to me, struggle to make stories that feel true. Non-fiction is where you get to argue about what might be true or not true, and mostly I find that interests me more.

Which of your books is your favourite?
Louisbourg Portraits was my first book, and that's always special. But 1867: How the Fathers made a Deal has a few things every Canadian ought to know about this country. Don't ask me - politicians as various as Preston Manning and Paul Martin have said so. But I think it's a good thought-provoking read too. And I have always loved how warmly kids and families respond to The Story of Canada.

What's a good book about Canadian history?
Try some of Pierre Berton's epics of great events. Try Charlotte Gray's marvellous, intimate biographies. Try Will Ferguson's funny, sassy takes on history. Pick up the great Donald Creighton on John A. Macdonald. See if you can read Barry Broadfoot's stunning oral histories Ten Lost Years and Six War Years without a tear welling up somewhere. Look out for some local history of your neighbourhood or city. Browse the shelf of your favourite bookstore - and ask the staff. Every year books about Canadian history dominate our non-fiction bestseller lists. Novels about Canadian history are some of the best Canadian writing around. If you can't find a good book about Canada, check your pulse!

How much money do writers make?
Well, my family and I have a house and a mortgage and we take care of our bills and pay our taxes and get to take a holiday once in a while, like anyone else in our neighbourhood. (Actually, lots of our neighbours work in arts and culture too, though it's not particularly an "artsy" part of town.) It's a living. Writers ought to be able to make a living.

Don't the schools do a lousy job teaching Canadian history?
No, I don't think so. We often get told the schools have to make history fun - but no one seems to say that about algebra or learning the times tables. I know kids who love their history classes, but I hope there's more to history to having fun in school.
Anyway, history is more than what gets taught in school. I write and read and think about history as a grown-up adult. An appreciation for history is like an appreciation for music or sport or reading good books - it enriches our lives way beyond what we do in the classrooms. When adults make history part of our lives, we do not have to push it upon reluctant students.

Chris' Evil Twins

Did you come to this site looking for Christopher Moore the American novelist and author of such titles as Coyote Blue and The Island of the Sequined Love Nun? Sorry, this is not him. Though we admire his titles, you will have to find him elsewhere!

There's a Christopher Moore who is said to be the leading English language writer in Thailand.

There is a Christopher Moore in Britain who does military history of the First World War.

There is a Christopher Moore who writes about the history of New York City.

And Chris Moore makes movies with his filmstar buddies Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Sorry, this is not the site of any of them!