About

Photo by Claire Sibonney

Julia Zarankin is a writer, birder, (occasional) birdsplainer, lecturer, and culture-tour-leader based in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in The WalrusThe Letters Page, Cottage Life, Orion MagazineThreepenny ReviewPrism International, Antioch ReviewBirding MagazineMaisonneuveThe New QuarterlyOntario Nature and The Globe and Mail. She was shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize (2020), won the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival nonfiction prize and has been first runner-up for PRISM International’s nonfiction prize, a finalist for the TNQ Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest and twice longlisted for the CBC Nonfiction Prize. 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 Wired Writing program, Orion Magazine’s environmental writing program, as well as mentorships from Diaspora Dialogues. She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony 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 proud member of the TOC, OFO, Birds Canada, ABA — incredible organizations that support birds (and the people who love them).

Select Publications:

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