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Cary Fagan

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Cary Fagan (born 1957) is a Canadian writer of novels, short stories, and children's books. His novel, The Student, was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award and the Governor General's Literary Award. Previously a short-story collection, My Life Among the Apes, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and his widely praised adult novel, A Bird's Eye, was shortlisted for the 2013 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His novel Valentine's Fall was nominated for the 2010 Toronto Book Award.[1] Since publishing his first original children's book in 2001, he has published 25 children's titles.[2]

Personal life

Fagan was born in 1957 in Toronto, Ontario. He grew up in the Toronto suburbs and attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a degree in English and winning eight student awards.[3] He has lived for short periods in London and New York City, and now lives in Toronto. He is married to Rebecca Comay, a member of the philosophy department at the University of Toronto. He has two daughters, a step-son, and a step-daughter. Along with Bernard Kelly and Rebecca Comay, he co-publishes and edits a small press, called espresso.

Fagan has received a Toronto Book Award, two Jewish Book Awards, and a Mr Christie silver medal.[4]

Prizes and honours

  • 1994 Jewish Book Award for Fiction (The Animals' Waltz)
  • 2004 World Storytelling Award (U.S.) (The Market Wedding)
  • 2009 Quill & Quire Book of the Year (Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas)
  • )2012 IODE Jean Throop Book Award (Mr. Zinger's Hat
  • 2013 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (Mr. Zinger's Hat)
  • 2014 Vicki Metcalf Award for Children's Literature (body of work)
  • 2019 Joan Betty Stuchner--Oy Vey!--Funniest Children's Book Award (Mort Ziff is not Dead)
  • 2022 Canadian Jewish Literary Award (Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart)
  • 2023 Forward Silver Award for Humor (The Animals)
  • 2023 Vine Award For Jewish Canadian Literature (Water, Water)
Runners-up, etc.
  • 1990 Finalist, Toronto Book Awards (City Hall and Mrs. God)
  • 2000 Sydney Taylor Honor Book (U.S.) (The Market Wedding)
  • 2004 Silver Birch Award Honour Book (The Fortress of Kaspar Snit)
  • 2008 Finalist, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award (Thing-Thing)
  • 2008 Silver Birch Express Award Honour Book (Ten Lessons for Kaspar Snit)
  • 2008 Finalist, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (Thing-Thing)
  • 2010 Finalist, Toronto Book Awards (Valentine's Fall)
  • 2012 Longlist, Scotiabank Giller Prize (My Life Among the Apes)
  • 2013 Finalist, Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize ("A Bird's Eye")
  • 2015 Finalist, John Spray Mystery Award (The Show to End all Shows)
  • 2019 Finalist, Toronto Book Award (The Student)

Published books

Novels for adults

Children's fiction

  • Gogol's Coat (Tundra Books, 1999), illustrated by Regolo Ricci, adapted from "The Overcoat" by Gogol
  • The Market Wedding (Tundra, 2000), illus. Regolo Ricci, from Abraham Cahan
  • Daughter of the Great Zandini (Tundra, 2001), illus. Cybèle Young
  • Beyond the Dance: A Ballerina's Life (Tundra, 2002), by Fagan and Chan Hon Goh, autobiographical
  • The Fortress of Kaspar Snit (Tundra, 2004), novel
  • Ten Old Men and a Mouse (Tundra, 2007), illus. Gary Clement
  • My New Shirt (Tundra, 2007), illus. Dušan Petričić
  • Directed by Kaspar Snit (Tundra, 2007), sequel novel
  • Mr. Karp's Last Glass (Tundra, 2007), illus. Selçuk Demirel
  • Ten Lessons for Kaspar Snit (Tundra, 2008), sequel novel
  • Thing-Thing (Tundra, 2008), illus. Nicolas Debon
  • Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas (Tundra, 2009), illus. Dušan Petričić
  • Book of Big Brothers (Groundwood Books, 2010), illus. Luc Melanson
  • The Big Swim (Groundwood, 2010), novel
  • Banjo of Destiny (Groundwood, 2011), illus. Selçuk Demirel
  • Ella May and the Wishing Stone (Tundra, 2011), illus. Geneviève Côté
  • Mr. Zinger's Hat (Tundra, 2012), illus. Dušan Petričić
  • The Boy in the Box (Penguin Canada, 2012), novel; Master Melville's Medicine Show, book 1
  • Danny, Who Fell in a Hole (Groundwood, 2013), illus. Milan Pavlovic
  • Oy, Feh, So (Groundwood, 2013), illus. Gary Clement
  • I Wish I Could Draw (Groundwood, 2014), "words and (bad) pictures by Cary Fagan", OCLC 881253673
  • Little Blue Chair (Tundra, 2017), illus. Madelie Kloepper
  • A Cage Went in Search of a Bird (Groundwood, 2017), illus. Banafsheh Erfanian
  • Wolfie & Fly (Tundra, 2017), illus. Zoe Si
  • Mort Ziff is Not Dead (Penguin Canada)
  • What Are You Doing, Benny? (Tundra, 2019), illus. Kady MacDonald Denton
  • The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster (Tundra, 2019)
  • King Mouse (Tundra, 2019), illus. Dena Seiferling
  • Mr. Tempkin Climbs a Tree (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2019), illus. Carles Arbat
  • Son of Happy (Groundwood, 2020), illus. Milan Pavlović
  • Bear Wants to Sing (Tundra, 2021), illus. Dena Seiferling
  • Water, Water (Tundra, 2022)
  • Boney (Groundwood, 2022)

Short stories

  • History Lessons (Hounslow, 1990)
  • The Little Black Dress: tales from France (The Mercury Press, 1993)
  • The Doctor's House and other Fiction (Stoddart, 2000)
  • My Life Among the Apes (Cormorant, 2012)
  • The Old World and Other Stories (Anansi, 2017)
  • Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart (Freehand Books, 2021)


  • City Hall and Mrs. God: A Passionate Journey Through a Changing Toronto (The Mercury Press, 1990)

As editor

  • Streets of Attitude: Toronto stories (Toronto: Yonge & Bloor, 1990), OCLC 247188080
  • A Walk by the Seine: Canadian poets on Paris (Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 1995), OCLC 635872651


  1. ^ "Toronto Book Awards - Awards - Living In Toronto | City of Toronto". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  2. ^ Quill & Quire, January 2008.
  3. ^ "About Me". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  4. ^ "Cary Fagan". Cormorant Books. Archived 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
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Cary Fagan
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