This is Part 1 of a 3-part series I’m calling The Next Gen Authors, about three Authors I know and have promoted, and their daughters who have also all become published authors – in their own right! Or maybe that could be, “in their own write” in this case … (Part 2, Part 3)
Anna Porter and Catherine Porter
Anna Porter is a former Canadian Publisher (Key Porter Books) and now an author of many non-fiction and fictions books. You may learn more about Anna and her books here in her Authors-Readers International promotion.
Anna’s daughter, Catherine Porter, has recently also published a new book, A Girl Named Lovely. Here’s Catherine’s biography …
Catherine Porter has been the Toronto bureau chief for The New York Times since February 2017.
Previously, Ms. Porter was a journalist at the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper. She started there in 2001 as an intern, and worked her way up to general assignment reporter, city hall reporter, environment writer, feature writer and finally columnist. She proved herself as an international correspondent, covering the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and returning to the country 18 times to report on its reconstruction efforts. Her book about the experience, entitled A Girl Named Lovely, was published by Simon & Schuster Canada in 2019.
Ms. Porter has received two National Newspaper Awards in Canada, the Landsberg Award for her feminist columns, and a Queen’s Jubilee Medal for grassroots community work.
She received her Bachelor’s from McGill University in English Literature and History, and her Master’s from York University in English Literature. Ms. Porter loves being a stranger in a strange land, and has lived in France, Senegal and India. But today, she resides in Toronto, 20 minutes from her childhood home, with her husband and their two children.
About the Book:
An insightful and uplifting memoir about a young Haitian girl in post-earthquake Haiti, and the profound, life-changing effect she had on one journalist’s life.
In January 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people and paralyzing the country. Catherine Porter, a newly minted international reporter, was on the ground in the immediate aftermath. Moments after she arrived in Haiti, Catherine found her first story. A ragtag group of volunteers told her about a “miracle child”—a two-year-old girl who had survived six days under the rubble and emerged virtually unscathed.
Catherine found the girl the next day. Her family was a mystery; her future uncertain. Her name was Lovely. She seemed a symbol of Haiti—both hopeful and despairing.
When Catherine learned that Lovely had been reunited with her family, she did what any journalist would do and followed the story. The cardinal rule of journalism is to remain objective and not become personally involved in the stories you report. But Catherine broke that rule on the last day of her second trip to Haiti. That day, Catherine made the simple decision to enroll Lovely in school, and to pay for it with money she and her readers donated.
Over the next five years, Catherine would visit Lovely and her family seventeen times, while also reporting on the country’s struggles to harness the international rush of aid. Each trip, Catherine’s relationship with Lovely and her family became more involved and more complicated. Trying to balance her instincts as a mother and a journalist, and increasingly conscious of the costs involved, Catherine found herself struggling to align her worldview with the realities of Haiti after the earthquake. Although her dual roles as donor and journalist were constantly at odds, as one piled up expectations and the other documented failures, a third role had emerged and quietly become the most important: that of a friend.
A Girl Named Lovely is about the reverberations of a single decision—in Lovely’s life and in Catherine’s. It recounts a journalist’s voyage into the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, hit by the greatest natural disaster in modern history, and the fraught, messy realities of international aid. It is about hope, kindness, heartbreak, and the modest but meaningful difference one person can make.
Links to Reviews and praise for the book, and interviews with Catherine Porter.
Simon & Schuster Canada YouTube video: A Girl Named Lovely/Catherine Porter
Maclean’s Magazine, “How a Canadian journalist grew close to a Haiti’s earthquake miracle child” Feb. 27,2019, by Brian Bethune
United Church Observer, Catherine Porter on finding comfort in Church after reporting on Haiti’s Earthquake, March 2019, by David Giuliano
Toronto Star Review by Marcia Kay, “Catherine Porter’s book about Haitian girl Lovely a testament to imperfect optimism,” March 1, 2018
Brit + Co, by Ilana Lucas, “3 New Books About Women on the Front Lines of History,”
March 3, 2019
Winnipeg Free Press Review by Ursula Fuchs, “Journalist compelled to offer help in Haiti,” March 23, 2019