Pohl-Weary, Emily

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Female. Hobbies and other interests: Video games.


Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Agent—Between the Lines Press, 720 Bathurst St., Suite 404, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2R4, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, editor, and filmmaker. Broken Pencil magazine, coeditor; Kiss Machine, founder and editor.


Hugo Award, and Toronto Book Awards finalist, 2003, both for Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril.


(With Judith Merril) Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, Between the Lines (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Mutants, Slayers, and Freaks, Sumach Press, 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including Shift, Lola, Taddle Creek, Fireweed, This, and Now.


A novel titled Sugar's Empty; editing Tamara Faith Berger's novel Messalina.


Canadian writer and editor Emily Pohl-Weary is the founder and editor of the magazine Kiss Machine, as well as the coeditor of Broken Pencil. An avowed pop culture fanatic, Pohl-Weary also has literary roots in the avant-garde past through her grandmother, twentieth-century science-fiction writer Judith Merril. In 2002 Pohl-Weary explored those roots in Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril.

Merril, considered a pioneer of twentieth-century fiction, left her autobiography unfinished at her death in 1997, and willed the project to her granddaughter. In addition to complete instructions, Merril also left a number of taped interviews recorded by Pohl-Weary. In an interview with Michael Bryson for the Danforth Review, Pohl-Weary described Merril as "a science fiction writer and editor, feminist, cultural theorist and anti-war activist," and noted that the novels and short fiction Merril penned during the 1950s and 1960s "acted as catalysts that launched the careers of many important writers." Pohl-Weary also quoted writer J. G. Ballard: "Science fiction, I suspect, is now dead and probably died about the time that Judy closed her anthology and left to found her memorial library in the genre in Toronto. I remember my last sight of her, surrounded by her friends and all the books she loved, shouting me down whenever I tried to argue with her, the strongest woman in a genre for the most part created by timid and weak men."

Among Merril's works were Daughters of Earth, That Only a Mother, and Shadow on the Hearth. An American by birth, in 1968 she immigrated to Toronto, Canada, due to her objection to the Vietnam War. Work at Rochdale College and CBC Radio followed, as Merril developed a reputation as a respected cultural critic and celebrity, aided by her establishment of a science-fiction library in Toronto. Towards the end of her life Merril became increasingly pessimistic, viewing technology as an oppressor and arguing that those few who controlled it would control the entire world..

"At first, it was difficult to be surrounded by her voice and thoughts," Pohl-Weary noted to Bryson of her experience in completing her grandmother's life story, "because I missed and also had some mixed feelings toward her, due to unresolved family dynamics, but it got easier as time passed." Her work was received enthusiastically by reviewers, and in 2003 Better to Have Loved was honored with both a Hugo award and a Toronto Book Award nomination. In an online review for Asta Sinusas called Better to Have Loved "a book about love—the passionate love Judith Merril had for particular moments and people in her life, of which this book is an expression, and the love of her granddaughter who completed the manuscript in her own expression of devotion."

A tireless editor who has founded several magazines of her own, Pohl-Weary has also embarked on a career as a fiction writer, beginning with the novel Sugar's Empty. A coming-of-age tale revolving around a young woman struggling to overcome the death of her boyfriend and take charge of her own life, the novel also deals with the corporate bombardment of advertising that promotes images of sex, drugs, and violence. In Pohl-Weary's hands, Sugar evolves from a vapid, self-conscious teen to a self-assured woman who takes control of her own destiny.



Danforth Review, (October 7, 2003), interview with Pohl-Weary.

Kiss Machine Web Site, (April 17, 2003)., (February, 5, 2002), Asta Sinusas, review of Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril. *