Donn Jean Kushner
Donn Jean Kushner, author, scientist (born at Lake Charles, Louisiana 29 March 1927; died at Toronto 15 September 2001). Dr Donn Kushner studied at Harvard and McGill, earning his PhD in 1952. He moved to Canada in 1948 and became a Canadian citizen. Dr Kushner taught biology at the University of Ottawa from 1965 until 1988 and then at the University of Toronto until retiring in 1992. He was the author of numerous scientific articles and editor of Microbial Life in Extreme Environments
(1978). From 1977 to 1983 he co-edited the Canadian Journal of Microbiology
. In 1986 he was recipient of the Ottawa Biological and Biochemical Society Award and in 1992 of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Award. His name is remembered in 2 bacteria: Haloanaerobium kushnerii
and Salinivibrio kushnerii
Although he published one collection of short fiction for adults, The Witness and Other Stories (1981), he secured his literary reputation as a children's writer. In 1981 The Violin Maker's Gift won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award. This highly imaginative saga has been translated into Dutch, German, French and Polish. He published Uncle Jacob's Ghost Story in 1984, A Book Dragon, which won the National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award in 1988, The Dinosaur Duster in 1992, A Thief Among Statues in 1993, The Night Voyageurs in 1995 and Peter's Pixie posthumously in 2003. Kushner's cerebral blend of fantasy and fiction resulted in a distinctive voice, winning him critical acclaim as a modern fabulist with echoes of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Kushner's blend of fantasy and fiction has won him critical acclaim as a modern fabulist with echoes of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (photo by George Ben-Tchovtchavadze).