Steven Laffoley

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Steven Edwin Laffoley
Author Photo Laffoley.JPG
Steven Laffoley
Born (1965-10-05) 5 October 1965 (age 50)
Taunton, Massachusetts
Occupation Author
Genre Creative Non-Fiction; Fiction
Notable awards Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award (2013)

Steven Laffoley (born 5 October 1965) is an award-winning Canadian author of narrative nonfiction and fiction.


A freelance writer for more than thirty years, Laffoley has written essays for print and online magazines, newspapers, and radio. He is also an award-winning author of fiction and creative-nonfiction books. Hunting Halifax was shortlisted for the 2008 Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Choice Award and the 2008 Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award.[1] Both The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea and Shadowboxing topped the Nova Scotia Bestsellers List,[2] with the former being shortlisted for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Nonfiction[3] and the latter winning the 2013 Evelyn Richardson Nonfiction Award.[4] His novel, The Blue Tattoo, also garnered much critical and commercial success. "It’s a big story that everyone should read," noted the Atlantic Books Today. "It deepens one’s appreciation for the parts of the city touched by the devastation of Dec. 6, 1917."[5]

Critical response[edit]

Laffoley has been lauded for his signature cinematic retelling of historical events by interweaving himself into the story as a writer/detective character. Critic Thomas Hodd from the Telegraph-Journal wrote that Laffoley injects “first person, post-modern narrative as he recounts his investigative process and offers reflections on the facts as they reveal themselves.”[6] Another critic from The Coast applauded him for his mastery in weaving together “the main story” and "contemporaneous scenes" in his books that make for "intriguing context".[7] Laffoley often chooses stories lesser known to the public, predominantly Canadian in subject, and almost always set around the turn of the 20th century. When asked about the inspiration behind his book Shadowboxing, he said he was fascinated with the fact that George Dixon, who seemed so influential in the boxing and wider communities of Canada and the United States, had not yet had a biography written.[8] According to a review by fellow writer Jenna Conter, Laffoley is the "Stephen King of Halifax"[9] because his unique writing style gives his works a cinematic quality, both vivid and imaginative.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Taunton, Massachusetts and raised in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, he was educated at Saint Mary's University. Laffoley moved to Canada in 1982 and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his wife and daughter. He has been a lecturer at Saint Mary’s University and a teacher at King's-Edgehill School. For nineteen years, he was the Head of Middle School at the Halifax Grammar School, a position he held since the middle school's establishment in September 1997.[10] In the spring of 2016, he was appointed the thirteenth Headmaster of the Halifax Grammar School. [11]



  • The Halifax Poor House Fire: A Victorian Tragedy (2016)
  • "The Only Way Home" in Nova Scotia Love Stories, edited by Lesley Choyce (2015)
  • The Blue Tattoo (2014)
  • Pulling No Punches: The Sam Langford Story (2013)
  • Shadowboxing: The Rise and Fall of George Dixon (2012)
  • The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (2011)
  • Death Ship of Halifax Harbor (2009)
  • "Of Taverns and Tomorrows" in Nova Scotia: Visions of the Future, edited by Lesley Choyce (2007)
  • Hunting Halifax: In Search of History, Mystery and Murder (2007)
  • Mr. Bush, Angus and Me: Notes Of An American-Canadian In The Age Of Unreason (2005)


  1. ^ a b "CBC journalists among nominees for Atlantic Book Awards - Arts & Entertainment - CBC News". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  2. ^ - 3:00am (2012-10-07). "BESTSELLERS | The Chronicle Herald". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  3. ^ a b "Crime Writers of Canada - 2012 Shortlists". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  4. ^ "East Coast Kitchen Party". East Coast Kitchen Party. 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  5. ^ "Across the Great Divide". Atlantic Books Today. 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Axe Murder on the Atlantic" - Stephen Laffoley's The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Telegraph Journal. 3 September 2011. F6
  7. ^ Brunet, Michelle (2012-03-15). "The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea | Book Reviews | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  8. ^ Fairclough, Ian (2012-10-07). "George Dixon was one of the first real sports celebrities | The Chronicle Herald". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  9. ^ Conter, Jenna (2012-09-19). "'Tenacious as hell': Word on the Street's Steven Laffoley | Metro". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  10. ^ "Halifax Grammar School ~Contact Us". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  12. ^ "East Coast Kitchen Party". East Coast Kitchen Party. 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-12-23. 


  • Bennett, Paul W. (2009). The Grammar School Striving for Excellence for 50 Years in a Public School World. Formac. ISBN 978-0-88780-839-5. 

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