ABOUT KAROLYN

Karolyn Smardz Frost is an accomplished author of lively and intriguing narrative non-fiction. A native of Toronto, Canada, she now lives with her husband, Norm, in beautiful Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where the view from her front porch encompasses the Minas Basin of the Bay of Fundy.

Both an archaeologist and an historian, in 1985 Karolyn directed the excavation of the first Underground Railroad site ever dug in Canada. It was the Toronto home of freedom-seekers Thornton and Lucie Blackburn, who had made their way to Canada from Louisville, Kentucky. In 2007, Karolyn won the Governor General's Award for her biography of the Blackburns. I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad was the first entirely original fugitive slave biography published since the Civil War.

 

Karolyn’s co-edited A Fluid Frontier: Slavery, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad in the Detroit River Borderland (2016), which won the Historical Society of Michigan Book Award. Her newest volume, Steal Away Home (HarperCollins Canada 2016) tells the intriguing tale of Cecelia Jane Reynolds, who at the age of fifteen fled her Louisville owners by way of the Cataract House hotel at Niagara Falls NY. A finalist for the Atlantic Book and Heritage Toronto Awards, Steal Away Home won the Speaker's Award for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the J.J. Talman Award for the best book in Ontario history over the past three years.

 

Right now she is working with the University of Buffalo Archaeology Lab and the Underground Railroad Heritage Commission of Niagara Falls, New York, on the excavation of the Cataract House hotel.

 

An adjunct professor at both Acadia and Dalhousie Universities in Nova Scotia, Karolyn was the Bicentennial Visiting Professor for Canadian History at Yale University in 2012-2013. She holds a PhD in the history of Race, Slavery and Imperialism from the University of Waterloo, a Master’s in Classics, and a BA in Archaeology.

The most exciting news yet is that Steal Away Home has been optioned for a five-part mini-series by Conquering Lion Pictures, which made Book of Negroes for television!

Karolyn with Hon. Jean Augustine,  Bill