Daniel Gawthrop is the author of five non-fiction books including The Rice Queen Diaries, which was shortlisted for a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award and an Independent Publishers Award (best biography/memoir), and The Trial of Pope Benedict: Joseph Ratzinger and the Vatican’s Assault on Reason, Compassion, and Human Dignity. He lives in New Westminster, B.C., traditional Coast Salish territory of the Qayqayt First Nation.
Born in Nanaimo (Snuneymuxw), B.C. in 1963, Daniel obtained a BA from the University of Victoria and a Journalism diploma from the University of King’s College (Halifax) before starting his career as a reporter for the Hope Standard and Vancouver Sun. He spent most of the 1990s as a freelance writer in Vancouver, with a short stint in London, before traveling to Asia and spending three years in Bangkok working at The Nation, an English daily. Since 2004 he has been a full-time communications representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. In that time he has obtained a Master’s degree from Royal Roads University (Victoria) and, during an unpaid leave, spent several months living and working in Burma as preparation for his first novel.
As a journalist, Daniel wrote about current affairs, arts and culture for periodicals ranging from the Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight and Canadian Forum to Quill & Quire, The Economist and Gay Times of London. Between contract work for unions and stints in radio production for the CBC, he also served as first publisher/editor of Xtra! West. In 1994, he won a Western Magazine Award for a feature profile in Western Living magazine about Peter Jepson-Young (“Dr. Peter”), the subject of his first book. The following year he was a finalist for the same award, for a profile on NDP Member of Parliament Svend Robinson in the Georgia Straight. Since working for CUPE, he has occasionally published essays online with The Tyee, Dooney’s Café and the Georgia Straight.
The Trial of Pope Benedict (Arsenal Pulp, 2013) is both a lament for the lost opportunity Vatican II represented for Roman Catholicism and an indictment of the man who led the resistance.
The Rice Queen Diaries (Arsenal Pulp, 2005), a memoir, explores the political and cultural minefields of desire and ethnicity between white and East Asian men on both sides of the Pacific.
Vanishing Halo: Saving the Boreal Forest (Greystone/David Suzuki Foundation, 1999), is a portrait of the world’s coniferous crown and its role in mitigating the effects of climate change, and a plea to restrict the harmful logging and mining practices that have threatened it.
Highwire Act: Power, Pragmatism and the Harcourt Legacy (New Star, 1996), chronicles the New Democratic Party administration of Mike Harcourt and the NDP’s internal ideological struggle while governing the politically polarized province of British Columbia.
Affirmation: The AIDS Odyssey of Dr. Peter (New Star, 1994) is a biography of the CBC “AIDS Diary” host whose weekly broadcasts educated the public about HIV/AIDS, countering misinformation and homophobia at the height of the pandemic.