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Selected feature articles

  • Mr. Skoll goes to Hollywood (PDF download)
    Jeff Skoll wrote eBay's business plan. Now, with nothing to lose (except for a billion or two), the Toronto boy is rewriting the way movies are made. The Globe and Mail's Report on Business magazine, March 2006.
  • Marshall's Law (PDF download)
    Stephen Marshall disappeared from his father's home in the middle of the night armed with an arsenal of weapons, the addresses of 34 sex offenders, and one very dark plan. Toro magazine, September 2006.
  • The Billionaire Prince of Bodog (PDF download)
    Online gambling mogul Calvin Ayre is living the life of frat boy dreams—just one step ahead of U.S. authorities. Maclean's magazine, Apr. 2, 2007.
  • Mission to Hell (PDF download)
    An investigative report into the death of retired Mountie and Canadian peacekeeper Mark Bourque in the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil. Appeared in Toro magazine, summer 2006 issue.
  • Up in Smoke (PDF download)
    What happened on the remote Bay of Fundy island of Grand Manan when the residents discovered a suspected crack house in their midst. Toro magazine, March 2007.
  • Hockey Fight School (PDF download)
    A summer in Mike Marson's gym, where the hottest NHL recruits go to refine their martial combat skills for the Big Show. Toro magazine, November 2005.
  • The Man With The Plan (PDF download)
    A hardcore punk band heads to New York with their lawyer in tow to attempt to snare the object of their dreams: a record deal. Hijinks ensue. Toro magazine, summer 2004.
  • Framed? (PDF download)
    Was a New Brunswick juvenile delinquent framed for a murder he didn't commit? Toro magazine, November 2006.

Biography

E-mail: chris at shulgan dot com

Christopher Shulgan is the author of two books and a contributor of essays and feature articles to numerous magazines and newspapers in Canada and the United States. But that little statistic about "two books" gets tricky because he's also written books for other people, as a prolific ghostwriter, as well as lots of essays and op-eds. Back to under his own name now, he also writes the parenting column for Toronto's best weekly magazine, The Grid, and is the only dad on the parenting panel of the hit daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris. Finally, over the course of this winter, he'll be blogging about snowboarding and skiing with young children over at the Bunch Family blog.

His second book, Superdad: A Memoir of Rebellion, Drugs and Fatherhood, chronicles his battles with responsibility and substance abuse. It's also a meditation about masculinity and fatherhood, and the way popular culture in North America keeps those two concepts separate. The Canadian publication date was September 30, 2010.

His critically acclaimed first book, The Soviet Ambassador: The Making of the Radical Behind Perestroika, was in late 2008 shortlisted for the largest prize for non-fiction published in Canada, the $40,000 National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. The book is the remarkable story of Mikhail Gorbachev's right-hand man, Aleksandr N. Yakovlev, who transformed from a Soviet Communist to a fervent believer in democracy during a 10-year exile to Canada. The book was first released in 2008 by McClelland & Stewart, and will be republished in a paperback edition in the spring of 2011.

In 2007, Shulgan won a Gold Medal in the political writing category at Canada’s National Magazine Awards for a feature in Toro magazine about a Canadian peacekeeper’s death in the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil. The nomination was the fifth time he was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Shulgan also has been nominated for a National Newspaper Award for a feature he wrote for the Ottawa Citizen about the work of traffic scientist Baher Abdulhai.

To research his heavily reported feature articles he has explored dangerous areas and fascinating subcultures, infiltrating the right-wing anti-immigration group, the Minutemen, retracing the route of a twenty-something pedophile killer through the backwoods of Maine and flying over the mountains of Costa Rica with one of the U.S. Department of Justice’s most wanted men, the Internet poker mogul Calvin Ayre.

Shulgan completed his undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and has a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He’s edited and published a cross-Canadian magazine about youth culture, Neksis, and written a short film, The Memory Merchant, that was produced by the National Film Board in 2006. He's also a successful participant in the NFB's documentary-filmmaker training program, Momentum. His play, What Cool Is, was published in the Oxford University Press textbook, On Common Ground, and read at London’s Grand Theatre. His work also has been performed at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. He lives in downtown Toronto with his two children.
The Latest Book
Released Sept. 30, 2010

Superdad: A Memoir of Rebellion, Drugs and Fatherhood

Buy it:
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

"Turns the urban dad story on its head—and then rights it again. Beneath Shulgan's outwardly loving life with his young family in a hip part of Toronto lurked a darkness; Shulgan was a hard drinker—and something of a crackhead. In an unsparing, but also comic, account of his ventures into the deep woods off the parental path, he explores his own notions of fatherhood. And challenges ours."--The Globe and Mail

"Infuriating, moving, and terrifying, Superdad is a journey into the dark heart of self-destructive hypermasculinty and out the other side into a kind of uneasy truce between the idea of 'father' and 'real man.' As a writer, I found myself awed by Shulgan's tale-teller's facility; as a dad, I found myself wanting to smack him until he stopped destroying his family and his life. Superdad is a brave memoir that humanizes the self-immolating urge of the crack addict."
--Cory Doctorow, author of For The Win and co-editor of Boing Boing

“Christopher Shulgan pulls off a cool sort of alchemy; Superdad is an illuminating book about delusion, a wise book about idiocy, a kind-hearted book about acting like a jerk. And then on top of all that, the man makes writing look easy.”
-- Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall, author of Down to This and Ghosted
My first book

The Soviet Ambassador: The Making Of The Radical Behind Perestroika
Shortlisted for the National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
How diplomacy and a decade-long exile in Ottawa transformed Mikhail Gorbachev's trusted advisor, Aleksandr N. Yakovlev, into the most potent force for freedom and democracy ever to walk the corridors of the Kremlin.

Buy it:
Chapters
Amazon

Praise for The Soviet Ambassador
"Peasant, war hero, Communist party apparatchik, eminence grise of Mikhail Gorbachev—Aleksandr Yakovlev well deserves a biography. The extra virtue of Christopher Shulgan's lively, well-written book is that it focuses on Canada where, during his decade as Soviet ambassador, Yakovlev developed many of the ideas that helped Gorbachev change his country and the world."
--William Taubman, Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science, Amherst College, and 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era.

"A fascinating story of why even insiders lost faith in the Soviet system--and how Canada played its part. Christopher Shulgan illuminates the key friendship between Yakovlev, the Soviet ambassador in Ottawa, and Mikhail Gorbachev, and shows how it contributed to the huge changes in Russia in the 1980s."
--Margaret MacMillan author of Paris 1919 and Nixon and Mao.

“This lively and well-researched book provides fresh insight into the role played by Ambassador Yakovlev and his Canadian friends in opening the minds of Soviet leaders and getting them to try reforming their system. A fun and informative read!”
--Peter H. Solomon, Jr., Professor, Munk Centre, University of Toronto