The HSW Literary Agency


Books on Offer


Non- Fiction

A Doctor’s Quest: The Struggle for Mother and Child Health Around the Globe
Dr. Gretchen Roedde
Dundurn Press, 2012

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

Recounting medical missions spanning twenty years in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific and the Caribbean, from slave camps in Darfur Sudan to the fluttering prayer flags in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, Dr. Gretchen Roedde has experienced the grim reality of world politics, bureaucratic red tape, and witnessed millions of dollars worth of medicines rotting in shipping yards. This is a book of her experiences on the front lines in over twenty-five countries working as a doctor in mother and child health and HIV and AIDS. It tells the stories of the village people she has been privileged to meet, and their often corrupt leaders. It shows countries trying to bring evil despots to justice. It shares the hopes of women struggling to give birth safely. It contrasts our affluence and indifference with the precarious hold on survival of the World’s poorest, where economic realities force families to sell young girls into marriage at the age of thirteen to face higher risk of death from early child bearing.

HIV/AIDS has captured political attention and mobilized money for treatment in poor countries, but basic prevention lags far behind and the poverty and inequality driving the epidemic are largely ignored. Huge resources have been directed to fight the major diseases of AIDS, TB and malaria, but the 600,000 women who die giving birth each year are largely invisible. These are the stories of real people that do not get told in technical reports full of development jargon.  

Praise for A Doctor’s Quest:

“I found A Doctor’s Quest impossible to put down. It’s full of vivid characters and situations, and at the same time is a breathtaking account of the lot of millions of impoverished women. This is a story we need to know and Roedde, with her wide experience and no-nonsense compassion, is just the person to tell it.”

-- John Bemrose, The Island Walkers

"This fine book demands, and deserves, slow and appreciative reading."

-- Isabel Huggan, author of Belonging: Home Away from Home

“Undeterred by political obstruction, intransigent bureaucracies and threats to personal safety, Dr. Roedde’s experience demonstrates that an individual with remarkable patience, persistence and unshakeable human values can overcome formidable obstacles and really make a difference.”

-- Dr. John Evans, Founding Director of Population, Health & Nutrition Department of the World Bank and former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Rockefeller Foundation

Author Bio
Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Gretchen Roedde grew up on Toronto Island. She studied anthropology at the University of Toronto and medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton. She worked extensively in northern Ontario training Aboriginal health workers in remote settlements, taught health workers from developing countries in Liverpool England, and then began a career that took her to Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean on medical missions. She now combines planning and evaluating health programs in developing countries with a general medical practice in the Temiskaming Region of northern Ontario.

Tilted: The Trial of Conrad Black
Steven Skurka
The Dundurn Group, January 2008

Rights: World, excluding Canada

"Tilted" refers to the American slant on justice that Skurka observed while covering Conrad Black's Chicago trial for CTV. He will use his widely-read blog on the trial as the core of the book, while adding significant post-trial discussion, including a provocative comparison of the American and Canadian justice systems. The book includes interviews with key players in this important trial.

Praise for Tilted:

“[Skurka] writes with an accessible style that blends legal expertise with insightful anecdotes that serve to illustrate to the Canadian reader what made this courtroom experience so overwhelming to Black’s lead defence lawyer Eddie Greenspan…. Tilted does an outstanding job in describing this sinister world of court justice in Chicago, and it challenges the reader to ponder, without prejudice, whether certain parties may have abused the system to steal Conrad Black’s company out from under him, and whether this represents a dangerous precedent.”
-- Quill & Quire

Author Bio
Steven Skurka is a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto and a partner with the law firm of Skurka & Spina LLP. He is a certified specialist in criminal litigation and is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. As the legal analyst for CTV for the past four years, Steven has covered some of the major cases and legal issues. 

The As It Happens Files
Mary Lou Finlay
Knopf Canada, October 2008

Rights: World, excluding Canada and USA
Translation Rights available

Taken from Mary Lou’s time as host of As It Happens, CBC radio’s longest-running current affairs show, The As It Happens Files is a look back on some of the more memorable real-life characters who have shared their stories over the years. This is a book filled with what so many people love: a little humour, a touch of the eccentric and stories about the triumph of the human spirit.

From the elderly Florida gentleman of the title, who’s boat foundered off-shore in a storm and managed to tread water for hours until rescue…to the Ontario man whose ambition is to make a suit that will withstand a violent encounter with a grizzly bear…to the guy who’s walking naked across the UK…to the president (and sole member) of the Apostrophe Society who made it his mission to correct a grocery store sign in Seattle, already devoted listeners and new readers alike will enjoy the breadth and depth of topics covered. The As It Happens Files entertains, amuses, and inspires.

Author Bio
A well-known and respected Canadian journalist for 35 years, Mary Lou Finlay was host of CBC Radio’s As It Happens from 1997 to 2005. In addition to interviewing and hosting, her broadcasting work has included making documentaries across Canada and the US, in Poland, El Salvador, Russia and Vietnam, and producing profiles of such notables as Gerard Pelletier, Rene Levesque, Jean Chrétien, Brian Mulroney, Timothy Findley, David Cronenberg and Jackie Burroughs.

Fire: The Spark that Ignited Human Evolution

Frances Burton
University of New Mexico Press 2009

Rights: University of New Mexico Press has World rights

*Finalist for ForeWord’s Book of the Year Award – Social Science*

Fire made us who we are. This—the most important technological innovation ever—transformed an ape-like creature into modern man. Most animals run from fire, but humans harness it and use it. Why? In the millions of years that make up our past, at a stage somewhere between ape and human, some genetic change added to the behavioural curiosity of our ancestors and launched a new being. This creature inaugurated what is possibly the greatest technological feat in all of human history—the use of fire. When humans adopted fire, they changed the direction of their own evolution. With that single act, they altered the environment, their own physiology, and their self-image.

Frances Burton, a well-respected anthropologist, has written a book that looks at how the daily and yearly rhythms of our ancestors were dramatically and fundamentally changed by the adoption of this new technology and how they became independent of inborn cycles, especially those involved in reproduction. The stages involved in the conquest of fire and the systems it affected are examined utilizing known evidence to speculate on how these changes unfolded. Burton contends that the taming of fire would have led first to the symbolic understanding of the power of fire, which is the power of humankind, and, ultimately, to the development of speech.

Author Bio
Frances D. Burton is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and has specialized throughout her career in the behaviour of non-human primates. She is the author of numerous papers, several videos, an anthology, and a pioneer CD-ROM, The Multimedia Guide to the Non-Human Primates (Prentice-Hall, 1995), the user’s guide and the 350-page written version. She has studied monkeys in Africa, Central America, Asia and southern Europe (Gibraltar), looking at the biological bases of behaviour.

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