Kathy Shaidle (born 7 May 1964) is a Canadian author, columnist, poet and blogger. A self-described "anarcho-peacenik" in the early years of her writing career, she moved to a conservative, Roman Catholic position following the attacks of September 11, 2001, and entered the public eye as the author of the popular RelapsedCatholic blog. Citing some points of friction with her faith, Shaidle relaunched her blogging career under her current FiveFeetofFury blog. Her views on Islam, political correctness, freedom of speech, and other issues have ignited controversy.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Shaidle studied at Sheridan College. Since the mid-1980s she has worked in Toronto, eventually taking up a post at the Catholic New Times magazine. In 1991, she left the publication to write full-time on government grants, only to discover a few weeks later that she had developed lupus erythematosus. Her four-year illness provided the subject matter for her 1998 essay collection God Rides a Yamaha.
In the early 1990s, Shaidle published two poetry chapbooks with the Toronto indie press Lowlife Publishing, which also published Lynn Crosbie and Maggie Helwig. Her book-length poetry collection, Lobotomy Magnificat, was nominated for a 1998 Governor General's Award. Critic Wendy McGrath, writing in the Edmonton Journal, praised the poetry for how it "effectively relates sacred images or text to present day events and images." In contrast, the Montreal Gazette's reviewer was critical of the book's "diet of smart phrasing... and fabricated insights."
Shaidle wrote the blog Relapsed Catholic (2000–2007) and a column for the Catholic weekly Our Sunday Visitor. She left the latter post in April 2007 after the newspaper refused to publish a column she had written criticizing Earth Day. In September 2007 she began a new blog, Five Feet of Fury, a reference to her petite stature and combative writing style. Shaidle has also guest hosted and moderated the popular Canadian conservative blog, Small Dead Animals.
In 2008, human rights lawyer Richard Warman sued Shaidle, Ezra Levant, Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals and the National Post over links to comments criticizing him at a Canadian internet forum, freedominion.ca. The National Post settled with Warman soon after the suit was launched and, in June 2015, Shaidle, Levant and McMillan all settled in exchange for undisclosed amounts and the issuance of public retractions and apologies.
Also in 2008 Shaidle and journalist Pete Vere wrote and published The Tyranny of Nice, a critique of the Canadian human rights tribunals. As of 2009, Shaidle's writing also appears in outlets such as FrontPage Magazine, Pajamas Media, Examiner.com and, as of 2011, Taki's Magazine. She has appeared on the Michael Coren Show, The Agenda (on TVO), the Charles Adler Show, The Political Cesspool, Vatican Radio, MSNBC, and Pajamas Media radio.
Awards and recognition
- 1998: poetry finalist, Governor General's Awards
- Canadian Church Press: four awards (humour, best national columnist, etc.)
- Gas Stations of the Cross. Toronto: Lowlife Publishing, 1990.
- Round Up the Usual Suspects: More poems about famous dead people. Toronto: Lowlife Publishing, 1992.
- Lobotomy magnificat, Ottawa: Oberon, 1997. ISBN 0-7780-1070-8 (hardcover), ISBN 0-7780-1071-6 (paperback).
- God Rides a Yamaha: Musings on pain, poetry, and pop culture., Northstone, 1998. ISBN 1-896836-24-0.
- A Seeker's Dozen: The 12 Steps for Everyone Else. CafePress, 2004. CafePress product number 10267680.
- A Catholic Alphabet: The Faith from A to Z. CafePress, 2005. CafePress product number 17385236.
- Acoustic Ladyland: Kathy Shaidle Unplugged. Lulu, 2007. Digital download only.
- "About Five Feet of Fury". 3 September 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- Gyapong, Deborah (2007-02-14). "'Relapsed Catholic' blogger finds voice in Canada's new media". Canadian Catholic News. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- Weisblott, Marc (2008-03-10). "Kathy Shaidle live". eye. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- Gyapong, Deborah (2006-02-19). "Cranky Catholic rides the web". Canadian Catholic News. Archived from the original on 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- Richmond, Randy (2009-03-11). "Controversial right-wing blogger invited to speak at London event". London Free Press. Archived from the original on 2014-04-18. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
- Shaidle, Kathy (1998-12-13). "Illness a harsh but welcome teacher". Toronto Star. p. 1.
- McGrath, Wendy (1998-12-06). "Poet relates sacred images to today's views". Edmonton Journal. p. F6.
- Starnino, Carmine (1998-11-14). "Five poets in search of a prize". The Gazette. p. J5.
- "Giggles and God-stuff: Hooting with the Maker on the Web". The Ottawa Citizen. 2001-04-08. p. C16.
- Shaidle, Kathy (n.d.). "My life as a (mediocre) Catholic". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- Earth Day is crap, or: My last column for Our Sunday Visitor, Relapsed Catholic blog post, 20 April 2007
- "Ezra Levant apologizes to human rights lawyer Richard Warman". The Georgia Straight. June 11, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
- Carpenter, Rebecca (December 1998). "The triumph of Kathy Shaidle". Quill & Quire. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- Kathy Shaidle official website
- Relapsed Catholic, Shaidle's former blog
- Five Feet of Fury, Shaidle's current blog
- Kathy Shaidle, Shaidle's LinkedIn profile
- Kathy Shaidle Shaidle's Facebook page
- Kathy Shaidle Shaidle's Twitter page
- Audio: Shire Network News Interview with Kathy Shaidle and Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals about the Warman lawsuit.
- Free Press report re London ON speaking engagement, News report on London speaking engagement.