Howard Engel

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Engel in 2007.

Howard Engel CM (born April 2, 1931) is a Canadian mystery writer and CBC producer who resides in Toronto, Ontario. He is well known to Canadian readers for his series of Benny Cooperman detective novels, set in the Niagara Region in and around the city of Grantham, Ontario (which strongly resembles the real city of St. Catharines, Ontario, where Engel was born). Engel is a founder of Crime Writers of Canada.[1]

Personal life[edit]

From 1962 to 1978 he was married to Marian Engel, a noted Canadian writer of literary fiction who died in 1985. They had two children, twins Charlotte and William, born in 1965. Charlotte currently is an independent television producer, and William works in tourism. Engel subsequently married Canadian novelist Janet Hamilton. The couple have one son, Jacob Engel, born in 1989.

In 2000, Engel suffered a stroke that left him with alexia sine (Latin for without) agraphia, a condition that prevents him from being able to read written words without a major effort, while not affecting his ability to write.[2] He was later able to write a new novel, Memory Book (2005), in which his character Benny Cooperman suffers a blow to the head and is similarly affected. The book is largely based on personal experience. He later published The Man Who Forgot How To Read (2007), a memoir of the time he spent recovering from the stroke, with an afterword by Oliver Sacks (who wrote about Engel's reading problems in the book The Mind's Eye), and another novel, East of Suez, in 2008. [3]

In February 2007, Engel was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, receiving it at the 100th investiture. In 2013, Engel received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal.





  • Criminal Shorts: Mysteries by Canadian Crime Writers (1992), ISBN 0-7715-9160-8 (ed. with Eric Wright)


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