Wisdom of the Ages: 10 Questions with Author Katherine Ashenburg

Katherine Ashenburg, 73, says her attention spans lasts about 10 years. She spent a decade as an academic, specializing in Dickens before becoming a CBC Radio producer for another decade, producing documentaries. After that, she was the Globe and Mail’s arts and books editor. Ashenburg has written five books including Going to Town, The Mourner’s Dance: What We Do When People Die and The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History, a history of personal hygiene.

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2018 Updates

All the Dirt has won the 2018 Green Book Festival Award in the Children’s Books category. These awards, based in San Francisco, honour books that contribute to greater understanding and positive action on the changing worldwide environment. All the Dirt is a real “stinker” of a book for ages 9-12 that takes a light-hearted look at the history …

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2017 Updates

Katherine’s article “Ah, humbug” — about Dickens and Christmas — was the cover story in the Times Literary Supplement for December 19. Katherine Ashenburg’s All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean has been chosen as one of the Best Books for Kids and Teens 2017 by Canadian Children�s Book Centre. In her Globe and Mail article “An American in Canada: Why I took the citizenship …

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The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Katherine Ashenburg

Reprinted from Open Book. Katherine Ashenburg’s All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean (Annick Press) gets pretty filthy, but it’s still appropriate (and irresistible) for its middle grade audience, because this dirt is the literal, outrageous, and fun kind for every kid who ever made mud pies, got gritty in the sandbox, or begged to stay …

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2016 Updates

Katherine’s first novel, Sofie & Cecilia, is going to be part of Knopf Canada’s prestigious series, “New Faces in Fiction,” to be published in the spring of 2018. It is inspired by two famous 19th-century Swedish painters, Karl Larsson and Anders Zorn, but it is really the story of their wives, Sofie and Cecilia — their …

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2014 Updates

As part of a panel called “Are We Too Clean?”, Katherine appeared on TVO’s The Agenda on December 16, 2014. (Spoiler alert: her answer is Yes.) The panel is available on TVO’s website. Katherine Ashenburg had three magazine articles selected as finalists in three different categories in the 2013 National Magazine Awards. They included two articles in The …

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