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Emily Urquhart

The writer and folkorist Emily Urquhart discusses her new book, Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes (Harper Avenue, 2015), albinism, and more, with Joseph Planta.


Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes by Emily Urquhart (Harper Avenue, 2015).

Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: Beyond the Pale [1]


Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

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

When Emily Urquhart gave birth to her daughter nearly five years ago, she and her husband Andrew noticed that she was the fairest child of them all in the maternity ward. Sadie’s snow white hair and fair skin suggested something magical, but after a series of tests she was diagnosed with albinism. It’s a rare genetic condition that we’ve talked about on this program in the past, and Ms. Urquhart’s book looks at albinism from the point of view of a mother giving birth to a child with albinism, to digging deep into her family’s genetic history. She looks at albinism and how it’s viewed in western culture, but more importantly and frighteningly in a country like Tanzania, where those with albinism are hunted and killed for their body parts. She writes about the cultural stigma that those suffering from this disability get. The book is called Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes. It’s such a compelling read, one that will upset you, but it’s definitely a book one ought to read. Emily Urquhart is a writer and folklorist who grew up in southwestern Ontario. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, where she joins me from now. She has a doctorate in folklore, and undergraduate degrees in journalism and art history. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Reader’s Digest, Flare, and The Walrus. She is a recipient of a National Newspaper Award as well. Her website is at www.emilyurquhart.ca [2]. The book is published by Harper Avenue, which is an imprint of HarperCollins. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, from Victoria, BC, Emily Urquhart; Ms. Urquhart, good morning.