Kathy Dobson’s work has appeared in the Globe & Mail, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Maclean’s, and Today’s Parent magazine and more. Her two blogs with the Globe & Mail, “A Parent’s View” and “A Family View,” examined issues surrounding post-secondary education in Canada. A news stringer for the CBC in Ottawa for over six years, Kathy also produced numerous documentaries for CBC Radio, including one that featured hockey legend Bobby Orr.
Kathy grew up in Point St. Charles, a neighbourhood then described by the National Film Board as being one of the “toughest in all of Canada,” a factoid she never gets tired of bragging about. Kathy is also a busy guest lecturer, including keynote speaker at a recent International Women’s Day event, and the 2012 Peter McGregor Lecture on Poverty and Transformative Social Change. For samples of her published work and contact information please visit her website: www.KathyDobson.ca.
With a Closed Fist: Growing up in Canada's toughest Neighbourhood
Offering a glimpse into the culture of extreme poverty, this memoir is an insider’s view into a neighborhood then described as the toughest in Canada. Point St. Charles is an industrial slum in Montreal which is now in the process of gentrification, but during Kathy Dobson’s childhood, people moved for one of two reasons: their apartment was on fire or the rent was due. When student social workers and medical students from McGill University invaded the Point in the 1970s, Kathy and her five sisters witnessed their mother transform from a defeated welfare recipient to an angry, confrontational community organizer who joined in the fight against a city that turned a blind eye on some of its most vulnerable citizens. When her mother won the right for Kathy and her two older sisters to attend schools in one of Montreal's wealthiest neighborhoods, Kathy was thrown into a foreign world with a completely different set of rules that she didn't know—leading to disastrous results. This compelling, coming-of age story documents a time of great social change in Montreal and reveals the workings of an educational system trying to deal with disadvantaged children.