Linda Spalding, Kansas-born Canadian fiction and nonfiction writer, often explores world cultures and the clash between contemporary life and traditional beliefs. Her most recent book, The Purchase, won the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Prize for Fiction. The Purchase has been published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart and in the U.S. by Pantheon.
Spalding is also well know for Who Named the Knife (2007), the true story of the murder trial of Maryann Acker, a teenager sentenced to life in prison for a murder committed while on honeymoon in Hawaii. Spalding, who served on the jury, tracks down Maryann 20 years later in order to reexamine the murder and the question of Maryann’s innocence. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it, a “delicate yet powerful work.” The reviewer for the Miami Herald said, “Spalding is amazing in her ability to seamlessly present a legal paper trail and other research alongside her emotional and honest assessment of herself.” The book was made into a TV movie – Of Murder and Memory – written by Semi Chellis.
Spalding’s earlier books include the novels Mere (2001) co-authored with her daughter Esta Spalding; The Paper Wife (1996); Daughters of Captain Cook (1989); and the nonfiction book The Follow (1998), about renowned orangutan expert Birute Galdikas, one of the three female acolytes of anthropologist Louis Leakey known as “Leakey’s Angels” (along with Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey). The reviewer for the Christian Science Monitor called the Galdikas book, “An intimate and deeply thoughtful chronicle of a woman’s awakening to the many challenges facing orangutans and the earth as a whole.” It was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award and the Pearson Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize.
An editor of Brick, a Journal of Reviews, Spalding has been awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the Canadian literary community.
Linda lives in Toronto with her husband, Michael Ondaatje, her dog Jasper and her cat Jack.