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Steven Laffoley

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Occupation  Author
Name  Steven Laffoley

Role  Author
Notable awards  Richardson Award
Steven Laffoley
Genre  Creative Non-Fiction; Fiction
Books  Blue Tattoo: A Novel, Death Ship of Halifax Harbour

Steven Laffoley (born 5 October 1965) is an award-winning Canadian author of narrative nonfiction and fiction.



A freelance writer for more than thirty years, Laffoley has written essays for print and online magazines, newspapers, and radio. He is also an award-winning author of fiction and creative-nonfiction books. Hunting Halifax was shortlisted for the 2008 Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Choice Award and the 2008 Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award. Both The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea and Shadowboxing topped the Nova Scotia Bestsellers List, with the former being shortlisted for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Nonfiction and the latter winning the 2013 Evelyn Richardson Nonfiction Award. His novel, The Blue Tattoo, also garnered much critical and commercial success. "It’s a big story that everyone should read," noted the Atlantic Books Today. "It deepens one’s appreciation for the parts of the city touched by the devastation of Dec. 6, 1917."

Critical response

Laffoley has been lauded for his signature cinematic retelling of historical events by interweaving himself into the story as a writer/detective character. Critic Thomas Hodd from the Telegraph-Journal wrote that Laffoley injects “first person, post-modern narrative as he recounts his investigative process and offers reflections on the facts as they reveal themselves.” Another critic from The Coast applauded him for his mastery in weaving together “the main story” and "contemporaneous scenes" in his books that make for "intriguing context". Laffoley often chooses stories lesser known to the public, predominantly Canadian in subject, and almost always set around the turn of the 20th century. When asked about the inspiration behind his book Shadowboxing, he said he was fascinated with the fact that George Dixon, who seemed so influential in the boxing and wider communities of Canada and the United States, had not yet had a biography written. According to a review by fellow writer Jenna Conter, Laffoley is the "Stephen King of Halifax" because his unique writing style gives his works a cinematic quality, both vivid and imaginative.

Personal life

Born in Taunton, Massachusetts and raised in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, he was educated at Saint Mary's University. Laffoley moved to Canada in 1982 and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his wife and daughter. He has been a lecturer at Saint Mary's University and a teacher at King's-Edgehill School. For nineteen years, he was the Head of Middle School at the Halifax Grammar School, a position he held since the middle school's establishment in September 1997. In the spring of 2016, he was appointed the thirteenth Headmaster of the Halifax Grammar School.


  • Winner of the 2013 Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award (Shadowboxing)
  • Shortlisted for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Crime Nonfiction (The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea)
  • Shortlisted for the 2008 Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Choice Award and the Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award (Hunting Halifax)
  • References

    Steven Laffoley Wikipedia

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