Carolyn was born in England, and moved to Canada with her family in 1972. She spent her childhood in St. Catharines and Mississauga, Ontario, playing a bit of piano, a lot of soccer, and writing heartsick poetry. The heartsickness eventually left her, but the writing stuck. She became a founding editor of her high school newspaper and went on to study journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa. During that time, she held summer reporting stints at the Welland Tribune, the Toronto Star and worked the peaceful night desk at the Ottawa Citizen, covering murders, fires and car crashes.
After graduation, Carolyn set off to travel and freelance in south Asia, where she caught memorable glimpses of her ancestral homeland in India, as well as dysentery and a mountain river parasite in central Nepal. Returning home to a full-time job at the Ottawa Citizen, she discovered her passion for long-form writing. Her work earned the Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists for two consecutive years.
In 1996, after making the natural move from crime to politics, Carolyn landed in Toronto at Queen’s Park. Two years later she joined the Globe and Mail as a medical reporter. Dolly, the famous Dorset sheep and first mammalian clone, was a newborn, and the Human Genome Project was about to produce its first map.
Since then, Carolyn’s long-time reporting on medical science at the Globe has earned two National Newspaper Awards, and four awards for medical reporting from the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. It also led to her first book, Possessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein’s Brain, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction. Carolyn appears often on television discussing issues in science, co-wrote the National Film Board’s production of DNA and Dollars, and was a presenter at ideaCity.
Carolyn’s work has afforded several opportunities for her to try the new medical technologies she writes about, offers to scan her brain and freeze her eggs (though freezing her brain and scanning her eggs sounded more intriguing). But not until it became possible to learn about your ancestry from your own DNA did she decide to take the plunge, personally. That decision set her on a ten-year journey, a story told in The Juggler’s Children, her second book, which has once again been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award in Non-fiction.
She lives with her family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.