Profile

Writer

Anna Porter has written three novels: Hidden Agenda, Mortal Sins, and Bookfair Murders. All have been published in several editions and languages throughout the world. Bookfair Murders was made into a feature film. Her non-fiction books are The Storyteller: A Memoir of Secrets, Magic and Lies and Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of Rezso Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust, winner of the 2007 Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Award and of the Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction. The Ghosts of Europe: Journeys through Central Europe’s Troubled Past and Uncertain Future was published in September 2010 in Canada and in January 2011 in the United States. It was awarded the 2011 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for political writing.

Anna Porter has written numerous articles for magazines and newspapers on a broad range of topics, including Israel and the Palestinians, Farley Mowat, Jack McClelland, Doris Anderson, cultural xenophobia, new immigrants, Anti-Semitism, Hungarians, Dracula, The Queen Charlottes and Central Europe. Her interviews with Natan Sharansky, Radislaw Skvorecki and Ferenc Gyurcsany were featured in Maclean’s magazine. Her story about Solidarity was featured in the Globe and Mail. She is currently writer-in-residence at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

Publisher

Anna Porter has been one of Canada’s most respected book publishers for 30 years. She was co-founder of Key Porter Books, a leading book publishing house, with a wide-ranging and varied list that includes such authors as: Farley Mowat, Allan Fotheringham, Howard Engel, Joan Barfoot, Fred Bruemmer, Norman Jewison, Hume Cronyn, George Jonas, Margaret Atwood, Jean Chretien, Sylvia Fraser, Modris Eksteins, Dennis Lee, John Keegan, Martin Gilbert, Irving Abella, Harry Bruce, Josef Skvorecky, Italo Calvino, William Trevor, Freeman Patterson, Conrad Black, and many others. She sold her interest in the company in 2004 to H.B. Fenn Limited. Well known in the publishing world, she was a regular at international book fairs.

Through the 1990s she served on the Federal Government-appointed Information Highway Council and, subsequently, on the E-Business Round-Table. She served on the Council of the Association of Canadian Publishers and was, once, president of the Association.

Consulting

Anna has been advising dozens of people about writing, editing, publishing, contracts, agents, book production, self-publishing and other aspects of the book business. As of October 1, 2013, rates will be available for these services.

Boards

Anna has served on a number of corporate and cultural boards, including Alliance Communications, Empire Company Limited, Maritime Life Assurance Company, Key Publishers Limited, McClelland & Stewart Limited and The Shaw Festival. She currently serves on the boards of The Canada Council for the Arts, PEN Canada, Schulich School of Business – Advisory, CODE Advisory, Toronto Public Library Foundation and Word On The Street.

A few personal facts

She is an Officer of The Order of Canada and has been awarded the Order of Ontario.

Anna was born in Budapest, Hungary. She was educated in New Zealand (BA and MA at Canterbury University, Christchurch) and began her publishing career as a junior editor at Cassell and Company, London, England. She emigrated to Canada in 1970, and worked at McClelland & Stewart for several years before starting Key Porter Books with Michael de Pencier’s Key Publishers.

She has some honorary degrees. She reads and speaks five languages adequately but not brilliantly.

She is married to Julian Porter, Q.C. and has two daughters, Catherine and Julia, and three grandchildren: Lyla, Noah and Ava.


Selected Bits

Gyle Konotopetz, “Literary Dynamo Kindles Lifelong Passion,” Business Edge, December 22, 2005

Zena Olijnyk, “Live and Learn: Anna Porter,” Canadian Business Online, May 22, 2006

Linda Richards, “An Interview with Anna Porter,” January Magazine, 2007

Mary Trush, “The Queen Bee of the Canadian Book Trade,” Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing


Speeches and Lectures

Anna Porter has lectured and given speeches throughout Canada and elsewhere. A few of her recent topics: the importance of culture and the arts; the future of the book in an electronic age; freedom of speech and why anyone should care about it; morality in times of war; the Holocaust in Hungary; the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and its aftermath; book publishing in Europe and the United States; stories from the past: those who built the Canlit we know today; how literature informs our lives and how to get published; about Europe 1989-2010; restitution and remembrance: the ghosts of central Europe.