Arts, News

Beloved Canadian Writer, Farley Mowat, Dead At 92

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Farley Mowat. Image: Tabercil
Farley Mowat. Image: Tabercil

A writer who inspired generations of Canadians to get to know and love the country’s north has died.

Farley Mowat was one of the country’s most beloved storytellers. For more than 60 years he wrote exciting adventure tales about animals—owls, wolves, dogs—nature and Canada’s First Nations people.

Mowat was an environmentalist and animal rights activist who understood that “the natural environment is at the heart of this country,” said CBC Radio host Matt Galloway. Mowat was an outspoken and flambouyant character, who was often seen doing fun but outrageous things like flipping his kilt.

Long-time friend, former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, told the CBC Mowat was “a true and feisty Canadian.” She said he told the story of Canada’s Inuit people from the inside. “That’s what a great writer does; that’s what Farley did.”

Mowat wrote more than 40 books that won many literary honours including the Governor-General’s Literary Award. He was a member of the Order of Canada.

Some of his most famous books are The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be, Owls in the Family and Never Cry Wolf.

After travelling to the Arctic in the 1940s, Mowat found people and a way of life that he admired and wanted to write about. He wrote People of the Deer in 1952, which tells the story of a group of Inuit people living in what is now Nunavut.

Mowat continued writing and defending the environment right up until the end of his life. Earlier this week, according to The Globe and Mail, he was “railing… against plans to offer limited WiFi in national parks.”

Farley Mowat died on May 6; he would have been 93 years old next week. He leaves behind his wife, Claire, and his sons Sandy and David.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Farley Mowat was an environmentalist with many strong beliefs about how the environment should be treated. Why do you think he was opposed to putting WiFi in Canada’s national parks? Do you agree with his position?

Reading Prompt: Elements of Style

Here are some words the author of this article used to describe Farley Mowat:
Outspoken, flambouyant, feisty and outrageous. What impression do these words give the reader of Farley Mowat? How do vivid and emotional adjectives bring a description to life?

Primary
Identify some elements of style, including voice, word choice, and different types of sentences, and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Junior
identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Intermediate
Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Language Feature: Noun / Verb
The Globe and Mail said Mowat was railing against plans to offer WiFi in Canada’s parks.

“Railing” can be a noun or a verb. Look up the verb “railing.” What does it mean?

Use it in a sentence.