media release

Honorary degree for William Deverell

October 04, 2011

Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017;

William Deverell
Photo on Flickr

Note: Deverell is one of four distinguished individuals to be honored by SFU this week. Others include former Musqueam chief Wendy Grant-John, ecologist C.S. (Buzz) Holling, and cellist Ian Hampton.

An honorary degree will be conferred on internationally acclaimed B.C. writer William Deverell on Thursday, Oct. 6 (9:45 a.m.) during Simon Fraser University’s Fall Convocation.

An environmental activist, civil libertarian and criminal lawyer, Deverell is a multi-award-winning crime novelist with 16 titles to date, and creator of CBC TV’s long-running dramatic series Street Legal.

Deverell worked as journalist while completing two degrees at the University of Saskatchewan, graduating in law in 1963.

As a member of the B.C., Alberta and Yukon bars, he worked for both prosecution and defence in criminal, civil rights, labour and environmental law.

Deverell’s first novel, Needles, won the $50,000 Seal Prize in 1979 and the Book of the Year Award in l981. Trial of Passion won the 1997 Dashiell Hammett award for crime writing in North America.

Deverell has also won two Arthur Ellis awards for crime writing in Canada — in 1997 for Trial of Passion and 2006 for the sequel April Fool — and was twice shortlisted for the Leacock prize for humour.

His novels have been translated into 14 languages and sold worldwide. His true-crime book A Life on Trial – the Case of Robert Frisbee and a subsequent play were based on a celebrated murder trial he defended.

He also chaired the Writers' Union of Canada from 1991-92 and 1999. Deverell lives on Pender Island and in Costa Rica.


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