Photo by Claire Sibonney

Julia Zarankin is a writer, birder, (occasional) birdsplainer, proud Zeiss Ambassador, lecturer, Yiddishist, and culture-tour-leader based in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in Audubon, Sierra Club Magazine, Canadian Geographic, The Walrus, Hazlitt, The Letters Page, Cottage Life, Orion Magazine, Threepenny Review, Prism International, Antioch ReviewBirding MagazineMaisonneuveThe New QuarterlyOntario Nature and The Globe and Mail. Her story, “Black-legged Kittiwake,” was a finalist for the CBC Short Story Prize (2020). Julia’s birding/life aspirations: “To sport the hairdo of a Cedar Waxwing, acquire the wardrobe of a Northern Flicker and develop the confidence of a Ross’s Goose.”

A few years ago, Michael Enright interviewed Julia on CBC’s Sunday Edition about the person she thinks about most, when she’s not thinking about birds (or her husband): Anton Chekhov.

Julia’s credentials on the Russian & European literature front include an AB from Brown University and a PhD from Princeton University (both in Comparative Literature). Julia is also a proud alumna of the Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism program, Bread Loaf workshops, as well as mentorships from Diaspora Dialogues. She has been awarded residencies at MacDowell, Monson Arts and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts.

Julia’s writing has been supported by grants from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Julia is a 2022-2023 Translation Fellow at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, and is translating Shifra Lipshits’ memoir Dreams and Reality from Yiddish into English.

Julia is a proud member of the TOC, OFO, Birds Canada, ABA — incredible organizations that support birds (and the people who love them).

Select Publications:

How I learned to love my body as an Adult Ballerina, CBC, March 2022

Russia is Destroying the Ukraine of my Memory, Globe and Mail (August 5, 2022)

Seabirds in Newfoundland, Toronto Star (August 12, 2022)

In Fine Form: The Human Connection to Feathers, Cottage Life (August 2022)

An Ode to Common Birds, Audubon (October 19, 2021)

Rice Krispies, The Litter I See Project (August 2021)

Spying the Warbler, En Route Magazine (April 2021)

A Breath of Fresh Air, ON Nature (March 2021)

More Birds Bring More Happiness, According to Science, Audubon (January 5, 2021)

Good Riddance, Canada Fitness Test, This Magazine (January 2021)

The Wrong Kind of Science, Hazlitt (November 2020)

The Accidental Hobby: On the Books that Made Me a Birder, LitHub.com (October 14, 2020)

You’ve Been Wondering About My Life, The Letters Page (July 2020)

This Pandemic Might Turn us all into Birders, Globe and Mail (May 2, 2020)

Black-legged Kittiwake, CBC Short Story Prize Finalist (2020)
New Board Game Wingspan is a Game Changer, Birdwatching Magazine (2019)
Can Science Bring Extinct Animals Back to Life, The Walrus (2018)
Love Nest, The Walrus (2017)
In Pursuit of the strange, The Puritan’s Town Crier (2015)
New Bird Order, Maisonneuve (2014)

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