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Farley Mowat, Chronicler of Canada’s North, Dies at 92

Author Farley Mowat speaks in his home in Port Hope, Ontario on May 7, 2012. Photographer: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Author Farley Mowat speaks in his home in Port Hope, Ontario on May 7, 2012. Photographer: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Farley Mowat, one of Canada’s most widely read authors and an advocate for environmental causes, has died. He was 92.

He died yesterday, according to a statement on his website. No other details were provided. He lived in Port Hope, Ontario.

Mowat’s books -- including “Lost in the Barrens” (1956), “Never Cry Wolf” (1963) and “Snow Walker” (1975), which were made into feature films -- sold more than 17 million copies, according to the online version of the Canadian Encyclopedia. His work, from a career that spanned more than half a century, was translated into more than 20 languages, according to his website.

“Mr. Mowat was a trickster, a ferocious imp with a silver pen, an ardent environmentalist who opened up the idea of the North to curious southerners, a public clown who hid his shyness behind flamboyant rum swigging and kilt-flipping and a passionate polemicist who blurred the lines between fiction and facts to dramatize his cause,” the Globe and Mail newspaper said today.

Farley McGill Mowat was born on May 12, 1921 in Belleville, Ontario, and grew up in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto. His father, Angus Mowat, was a World War I veteran who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a victory for Canadian troops in France.

During World War II, Mowat served in the Canadian army, fought in Italy and rose to the rank of captain, according to a 1980 profile in People magazine.

Following his discharge in 1946, he worked as a government biologist studying wolves in Canada’s Northwest Territories. For months, he lived on a wolf’s diet of mice and raw caribou, according to the People article. Mowat also grew close to an Eskimo tribe. To publicize their plight, in 1952, he published his first book, “People of the Deer.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net Charles W. Stevens

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