|Born||William Stener Ferguson
October 12, 1964
Fort Vermilion, Alberta
|Alma mater||York University|
|Genre||Humour, travel, Canadian history and culture, fiction|
|Notable works||419; Happiness™; Why I Hate Canadians; Hitching Rides with Buddha|
His success as a writer can be attributed to an innate ability to view Canada much the same way an outsider would, as described in his debut book, the ironically named Why I Hate Canadians. Ferguson was born fourth of six children in the former fur trading post of Fort Vermilion, Alberta, approximately 800 km north of Edmonton. His parents split up when he was six years old, during a brief interlude in Regina. At the age of 16, he quit school and moved to Saskatoon, Dauphin, and Red Deer.
Ferguson is also an outspoken critic of the monarchy of Canada, both publicly and in his books. He is quoted in the media when the monarchy issue is being debated. He also profiles Canadian secessionist and independence movements (such as the "Republic of Madawaska") in his book Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw (2004).
He completed his high school education at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School (L.T.C.H.S.) in Red Deer, and was awarded the Alexander Rutherford Scholarships in all available categories. He then joined the Canadian government funded programs Katimavik and Canada World Youth. The latter program sent him to Ecuador in South America, as described in his book Why I Hate Canadians. He studied film production and screenwriting at York University in Toronto, graduating with a B.F.A. (Special Honours) in 1990.
He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta, with his wife and two sons. His older brother, Ian Ferguson, also won the Stephen Leacock Medal, for Village of the Small Houses in 2004. Another brother, Sean Ferguson, is currently the dean of music at McGill University.
Ferguson joined the JET Programme in the early 1990s, and lived in Kyushu, Japan for five years teaching English. He married Terumi in Kumamoto, Japan in 1995. After coming back from Japan he experienced a severe reverse culture shock, which became the basis for his first book Why I Hate Canadians. He details his experiences hitchhiking across Japan in Hokkaido Highway Blues, later retitled Hitching Rides with Buddha.
Awards and honours
Ferguson has won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times: first for Generica (later renamed Happiness) in 2002, then for Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw in 2005 and for his travel memoir Beyond Belfast in 2010.
He also served on the jury of the 2015 Hilary Weston Prize for literary nonfiction.
- Why I Hate Canadians (1997)
- I Was a Teenage Katima-Victim! (1998)
- Hokkaido Highway Blues (1998), republished in 2005 as Hitching Rides with Buddha
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to Japan (1998)
- Bastards and Boneheads: Canada's Glorious Leaders, Past and Present (1999)
- Canadian History for Dummies (2000, revised 2005)
- Generica (2001), winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, later republished as Happiness™
- How to Be a Canadian (2001), cowritten with Ian Ferguson
- Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw: Travels in Search of Canada (2004), winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
- The Penguin Anthology of Canadian Humour (editor) (2006)
- Spanish Fly (2007)
- Beyond Belfast: A 560-Mile Walk Across Northern Ireland on Sore Feet (2009), winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
- Coal Dust Kisses: A Christmas Memoir (2010)
- Canadian Pie (2011)
- 419 (2012), winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize
- Road Trip Rwanda: A Journey into the New Heart of Africa (2015)
- St.John Telegraph-Journal - Jubilee tour sparks debate
- New Canadian Magazine - Royal Flush - Should we ditch the monarchy?
- Marsden, Rachel PoliticalUSA.com - Defining a Nation
- Wilfrid Laurier University 1999: Michael Poole, (retrieved 11/17/2012)
- Will Ferguson takes Giller Prize for novel 419 Toronto Star, October 30, 2012