Helen Humphreys is a “method” writer, unafraid to immerse herself in the subject of her work, whether that be English gardens or the Artic sea. In fact, on an Arctic voyage to research an upcoming book, she found herself wishing that her ship would sink so she would better understand the fate of her characters.
Though many of her novels are based on historical events, Helen’s lyrical prose harkens back to her beginnings as a poet. “Stark, precise poetry,” said Kirkus Reviews of Coventry, adding that Helen builds “a palpable, almost unbearable sense of inevitability and loss that echoes both John Hersey’s Hiroshima and Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach.”
An avid reader and a disciplined writer, Helen dropped out of school at grade ten, finished at an alternative school, and published her first book of poetry at the age of twenty–four. When she turned to writing fiction, she didn’t sign up for a writing class; instead she maxed out her library card, determined to read through the fiction section in alphabetical order. Her commitment and passion are evident in each of her ten books.
Winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, Helen has also won the Lambda Prize for fiction and the Canadian Author’s Association Award for Poetry, and she has twice made the New York Times Notable Book of the Year list. Her novels and non–fiction have been national bestsellers, and Wild Dogs is now optioned for film.
Her new book, The Reinvention of Love, is based on the fascinating true story of Charles Sainte–Beuve, his lover Adele, and her husband, Victor Hugo. The Reinvention of Love has all the hallmarks of Helen’s indomitable style. Emma Donoghue calls it “witty, sad and gorgeous in equal measure.”
Born in Kingston–on–Thames, England, Helen now lives in Kingston, Ontario.