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Eric Wilson (author)

Eric Wilson
Born (1940-11-24) November 24, 1940 (age 78)[1]
Ottawa, Ontario
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia
Genreyoung adult fiction, detective fiction

Eric Hamilton Wilson (born November 24, 1940) is a Canadian author of young adult fiction. His detective novels follow the adventures of Tom and Liz Austen, young sleuths in Canada. Wilson has taught elementary and secondary school in White Rock, British Columbia, and has a B.A. from the University of British Columbia.[2]

In 1990, he won the Arthur Ellis Award for Lifetime Achievement from The Crime Writers of Canada.

The Tom and Liz Austen mysteries

Originally a public school teacher, Wilson's teaching experiences pushed him into writing. Frustrated by some of his slow learners rejecting books as being too boring, Wilson decided to try writing stories himself. His first short stories were popular with his students, but publishers rejected his first five manuscripts.[3]

Wilson developed a formula based on his eighth-grade students' preferences.[3] His books would be short, should always start with a dramatic opening scene, be dialogue heavy, and have abundant "cliffhanger" moments. Wilson's books have similarities to the Hardy Boys adventure series, but also attempt the reader participation of "true" mysteries, such as those by Agatha Christie.[3]

Wilson prominently features Canadian settings and their history in his novels. He also uses topical themes, such as environmentalism, child safety, and drug abuse, to allow teachers a springboard for classroom discussion. Criticism of Wilson's writing includes his use of improbable plotlines and somewhat stilted dialogue.[4]

The Tom and Liz Austen books have won several Canadian book world recognitions, including the Crime Writers of Canada Chairman's Award, and the Canadian Booksellers Association's Author of the Year Award in 1993.[2] Wilson currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia.


  1. ^ Eric Wilson Canadian Books and Authors, (retrieved 11/20/2012)
  2. ^ a b Ripley, Gordon M. (1992–93). Who's Who in Canadian Literature. Teeswater, ON: Reference Press. pp. 312–13. ISBN 0-919981-26-7.
  3. ^ a b c Jones, Raymond E.; Jon C. Scott (2000). Canadian Children's Books : a critical guide to authors and illustrators. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press. pp. 481–83. ISBN 0-19-541222-2.
  4. ^ Jones, Raymond E. (Summer 1983). "Popular Books, the Responsibilities of the Reviewer, and Literary Nationalism: The Case of Eric Wilson". Children's Literature Quarterly (8): 34, 44–5.

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