Anna Porter’s most recent book is Gull Island, a haunting psychological suspense novel. She is the author of five non-fiction books, including In Other Words: How I Fell in Love with Canada One Book at a Time, Buying a Better World: George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy, The Ghosts of Europe, winner of the Shaughnessey Cohen Prize for Political Writing, 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, and the The Storyteller: A Memoir of Secrets, Magic and Lies. She has also written five other novels: The Appraisal, Hidden Agenda, Mortal Sins, and Bookfair Murders — Bookfair Murders was made into a feature film. Ms Porter’s books have been published internationally and in several languages.
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.
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.
Anna has been advising dozens of people about writing, editing, publishing, contracts, agents, book production, self-publishing and other aspects of the book business.
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, The Canada Council for the Arts, PEN Canada and The Shaw Festival. She currently serves on the boards of PEN Canada, Literary Review of Canada, Schulich School of Business – Advisory, CODE Advisory, Toronto Public Library Foundation and the Business Book Awards Jury.
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 four grandchildren: Lyla, Noah, Ava, and Violet.
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.