Ian Coutts

Ian Coutts is the author of the short-listed title Brew North. An eclectic writer, some of this several books include Titanic: The Last Great Images (with Robert Ballard), Backyard Birds (with Robert Bateman), and The Ultimate Guys’ Q and A (released in the United States as Do Nymphomaniacs Really Exist?).

His writing has appeared in Toronto Life, Canadian Geographic, The Globe and Mail, and Quill and Quire, to which he contributed a regular column called “Watch Your Language.” He lives in Toronto; Kingston, Ontario; and Merida, Mexico.

What was the inspiration for Brew North?
A couple of things. One, I like beer, especially craft beer. The other was wherever I seemed to go in Canada, I’d invariably come across a plaque announcing that on this very spot in the distant past, someone had  built a brewery. Beer and brewing seemed woven right into the Canadian national fabric.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing/publishing this title?
There has been some writing on beer in Canada, but mostly from a regional or business  perspective. I wanted to create a truly national book  looking at all the elements of our love affair with beer. That took doing.

What aspect of the book are you most proud?
I love all of it but I would have to single out the fantastic images we found for the book — photos of old saloons, the labels, the classic ads.  There has never been a beer book like this.

What do you wish you knew before starting the project?
How much fun I would have meeting my readers. It would have spurred me on when I was lagging.

What advice would you give aspiring culinary authors?
People say write what you know, but I think it’s more a case of write about what engages you. Love beer? Write about it. Love pie? Write about pie.

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