PERSONAL: Male. Education: McGill University, M.A..
ADDRESSES: Office—CBC, P.O. Box 500, Station A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 1E6, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].
CAREER: South China Morning Post, reporter; Shift, cofounder and editor-in-chief, 1992-1998; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, host of Newsworld's Hot Type and Futureworld; contributor to television, radio, and print media; consultant.
AWARDS, HONORS: Named one of the "100 Canadians to Watch," by Macleans, 1997.
Crossing the Distance (novel), McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.
Columnist for National; contributor to periodicals.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A screenplay tentatively titled The Deadline; a second novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Well known among Canadian viewers as host of two popular television programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), journalist Evan Solomon attracted significant notice with the publication of his first book, Crossing the Distance. The novel is the story of two brothers: Jake, the host of a Jerry Springer-style television show, and Theo, an ecoterrorist hiding from the police. Each brother is suspected of a murder—Jake for the shooting of his lover, a Toronto media critic, and Theo for the tree-spiking death of a British Columbia logger. The novel follows many twists and turns as the fugitive brothers acknowledge their shared past and their present differences, culminating in Jake's decision to abandon his lucrative television career.
Crossing the Distance met with mixed reviews. Indigo Review's Bronwyn Drainie found Theo a "cardboard villain," and complained that the novel "could have been a much more complex exploration of the values and pitfalls of political commitment in an age of cool media manipulation." Yet she also praised Solomon's sharp satirical stance and biting humor.
This ironic approach, Solomon told January Magazine interviewer Linda Richards, is "designed to reflect that channel-surfing mentality of very serious and very . . . engaged in the events you see . . . and then two seconds later you're looking at Seinfeld or something and laughing....Walking down the street of engagement and disengagement. Cycling through those." Yet Solomon emphasized that Crossing the Distance, while often satirical and funny, is also a serious novel about familial love and the archetypal theme of redemption. "It strikes me that storytelling has always been a sacred thing," he said. This interest in the ritual power of narrative, Solomon explained, led him to pursue a Master's degree in religious studies at McGill University; this experience confirmed the young writer's reverence for story as a means of cultural expression.
Indeed, Solomon sees all writing as, at root, storytelling, and this approach characterizes his journalism as well as his fiction. "As an editor," he told Richards, "running a magazine was about documenting a story at a certain time and a certain place." As cofounder and editor-in-chief of Shift, a magazine about media, entertainment, and technology, Solomon had the opportunity to document "fearless people who were telling stories," such as the Dalai Lama. During Solomon's seven years with the magazine, it developed from a small fiction publication into a successful journal with a staff of thirty-three people. Solomon left his editorial post in 1998 to work full-time on his own writing. He completed a screenplay which he describes as a "dark comedy," tentatively titled The Deadline; it is about a writer with severe writer's block. He was also at work on a second novel.
Solomon, who has worked as a reporter in Asia and Europe, is host of CBC's Hot Type and Futureworld, programs that explore new trends in media, culture, and technology. He is a regular columnist on CBC's news-magazine, National, and contributes to several other television, radio, and print media. He was twice nominated for a Gemini Award as host of Futureworld, which received a Gemini Award for best Lifestyle Information Series, and he was listed by Maclean's magazine as one of the "100 Canadians to Watch." Solomon is also a consultant on issues relating to new technologies and culture.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Indigo Review,http://www.indigo.ca/ (November 15, 2002), review of Crossing the Distance.
January Magazine,http://www.januarymagazine.com/ (November 15, 2002), interview with Evan Solomon.*