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Jane O’Hara

The journalist and author Jane O’Hara talks about the life and career of legendary Canadian journalist Marjorie Nichols, and the memoir she wrote with her, Mark My Words: The Memoirs of a Very Political Reporter (Douglas & McIntyre, 1992), with Joseph Planta.

Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.

One of the better books in Canadian journalism is the memoir by the journalist Marjorie Nichols. Nichols was a legend in these parts, and beyond. She’s remembered here for her time at the Vancouver Sun in the 1970s and into the early ‘80s, when she covered provincial politics from Victoria. She’d done two stints in Ottawa, but is probably better remembered for her work at the Ottawa Citizen in the 1980s. She was a hardworking, tough reporter. A hell of a reporter, as has been ascribed to her upon her early death from cancer in 1991 at the age of 48. Mark My Words: The Memoirs of a Very Political Reporter, which was published posthumously by Douglas & McIntyre in 1992, is quite candid. There hasn’t been a political memoir like it. I read it in high school several years after it came out, and it was quite a fascinating read. You get Nichols at her best: her no nonsense style, as well as her colourful exploits, and thoughts on journalism, politics, and the personalities she encountered. Nichols is most candid when it comes to her struggle with alcoholism. She bears all and she’s toughest on herself. Joining me now to talk about Nichols, her legacy, and the book, is the book’s co-author, Jane O’Hara. She got a call from Nichols in the summer of 1991 asking to collaborate, and she agreed before knowing that the subject of their writing would be Nichols herself. I’ll ask her about the writing of this book, and more. Jane O’Hara is an award winning writer, and a former national tennis champion, who competed at Wimbledon and the US Open. She’s published two other books, as well. She was national editor at Maclean’s, and when she was at the Ottawa Sun, she was the first ever female sports editor in Canada. She joins me from Toronto today. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Jane O’Hara; Ms. O’Hara, good morning.