Convivium - Faith in our common life

Convivium Volume 1, No. 2


The Conversation: Why Coren is Right

by Michael Coren

Convivium: You've got so much going on, Michael—your TV program, your columns and now your second book in a year, right? How has Why Catholics Are Right done since 2011?

Michael Coren: I think it has sold the best part of 50,000 copies. It is really amazing. I've written a bunch of books and none of them has sold like that. We sold a few abroad for the C.S. Lewis and the J.R.R. Tolkien books. It wasn't so much the book as it was the subject. Frankly, I don't think the publisher thought Why Catholics Are Right would do as well. The reason the new book is out a year later is because I was in Chicago on a book tour [last year], and I got a call from the publisher, who said, 'We've got to go to another printing.' So they asked me if I could get a similar book done. And I, of course, said 'yes' because I never turn down work. But it was quite an effort to get it done in time. They wanted to cash in—particularly in the States, where [Catholics] has done very well. I can't pretend I knew it would be like this. I didn't. [Laughs.]

C: What were your expectations?

MC: If I had sold 10,000—or even 5,000—I would have been delighted. We were on the best-seller list for about 10 weeks. With books on religion, you assume there will be very limited sales. But it shows, I think, how in the Catholic world, there's a real eagerness out there, a real desire for something that goes beyond the normal church formula. Why Catholics Are Right wasn't officially backed by any Catholic organization, but EWTN [Global Catholic Network] got right behind it and the Catholic Register did, and Tom Moynihan down in the States contacted me.... He was lovely, a very gracious man. He bought a whole bunch of copies. But it wasn't like the bishops had given me official backing or anything like that.

C: Aside from the brilliant writing and thought, what do you think made it such a success?

MC: [Laughs.] It just seemed to catch a wave. And even in the secular media—outside of the CBC in Toronto, which is routinely dreadful on these issues—people were very kind. The National Post gave it good coverage and so did CFRB and other radio stations. In Western Canada, people were very nice. CBC in Calgary and Montreal both covered it. There were other people who aggressively refused to, and it was a bit strange, you know. I live in Toronto, and this book was on the best-seller list for 10 weeks. It's a book of ideas, and you'd think that a lot of TV stations would say, 'oh, this is interesting.' They're always trying to fill space. But they wouldn't touch it. They'll have an excuse to avoid the next one because I'm on Sun News, so they might argue, well, we can't have a Sun person on. But when I started, when the book came out, I wasn't officially at Sun News yet, so they had no reason at all.

C: It sounds like that isn't such a problem in the U.S.

MC: I think it has to be bigger in the States than in Canada. When I was on the Raymond Arroyo show, he said, 'Have a look at Amazon.com after you come on.' I think at one point we got to No. 12 at Amazon.com, which is amazing. On Amazon.ca, I was in the top 20 there for ages, but Amazon.com... to get that high... the only books above me were Oprah titles. I didn't stay there for long, but it got up there. And I'm not known at all in the States. People just wouldn't know who I am generally. I think what people are realizing today is that alternative media, or new media if you like, does a lot for books. The blogs were very kind to me.

C: The new book, Heresy, isn't specifically a Catholic book, it's a broader Christian book?

MC: That's right. I could write another book on Catholicism, but there were lots of other issues that were not specifically Catholic that needed to be addressed. Chapters are devoted to things most of us have been hit with over and over again. It starts off with an introduction about antiChristianity. That could have been the whole book. I was listening to a report from the BBC recently and they admitted, 'Yes, we say things about Christianity that we would never say about Islam.' It goes into various issues, such as the claim that Hitler was a Christian, which is something the Internet warriors throw at us. There are various atheist websites that say Hitler was a Christian. If you have any knowledge of National Socialism and its ideology, the claim is laughable. The idea that [Nazis] were Christians, I mean, there's something specifically pagan about Nazis. And then there's the claim that 'Jesus didn't even exist.' No serious scholar denies that Jesus existed. You might deny that he was the Son of God. Fair enough, we can talk about that. But there's overwhelming evidence that he existed. So I talk about that, and there's a philosophical chapter of very popular stuff: Bad things happen to good people. The science behind creation. Again, this is not deep stuff; these are issues we hear a lot about. It's to give people some arguments they need. I mean the idea that bad things happen to good people, when you think about it, is such a basic misunderstanding of God. But so many people will say it. I'm sorry, that's a question for the atheist, not for me. Christians have never said that bad things won't happen to good people. Scripture says it probably will. [Laughs.] And even worse, good things happen to bad people, which is a real pain in the ass, isn't it? And there's a full chapter on The Da Vinci Code, showing how absurd it is. All sorts of people have been influenced by it, so I talk about that. I talk about Christians and science and why we actually have been the handmaid of science. It's a handbook for all Christians. And it's by no means the last word, but it should empower people a bit.

C: One thing I'm curious about, Michael, is how you're this almost evenly divided figure: you've written scholarly books on Tolkien, on Chesterton, on C.S. Lewis, and H.G. Wells. Yet you're also this provocateur who can take on anything at the drop of a hat. How do you know, when you get up in the morning, whether today is a scholar day or a provocateur day, or do you sort of switch at lunchtime?

MC: Well, you know, I take a lot of drugs. [Laughs.] Actually, I'm not sure there is much of a divide or a difference. I've never claimed to be an intellectual. I love knowledge; I'm fascinated by ideas. But I think of an intellectual as someone who can be devoted for years to a single idea. I admire people like that. I have friends I was at university with, and they now teach at universities. They will spend years not just on one person in history but one incident that occurred to one person in history. I could never do that. That really is advanced knowledge. I'm not as tall as an Aquinas sort of human, nowhere near, but I can stand on their shoulders. So I hope I can be very serious about issues but also be in some way provocative. I honestly do not set out to be provocative. I think it's the age that's provocative, not me. I'm really, I think, a very moderate person. But especially on the social issues, if you say that life begins at conception—which is a scientific definition, not a religious one—that is an extremely provocative thing to say in mainstream society. 'Life begins at conception, and you shouldn't take an unborn life' is an extremely provocative thing to say. But that doesn't make me provocative or the statement provocative; it makes the culture provocative. With gay marriage, it's even more so in many ways. I challenge anyone to find where I have been unkind, unpleasant, to gay people. But I believe marriage is one man and one woman. Well, this has become—if you'll forgive the irony—a great heresy now. Within the mainstream, to say marriage is one man and one woman, well that's provocative. So, what does provoke and what is thought to be provocative... I'm trying to think, have I ever just tried to provoke for its own sake? I honestly don't think in those terms—today is intellectual day and this day is tabloid provocateur day. So that balance, if there is any, seems to come naturally.

C: You were really drawn to some of those "towering" figures. You really wanted to dig down and know who they were and let a bit of the world's light shine on them. And it's interesting because at the same time that you were writing about Chesterton, you were doing a column for Frank magazine.

MC: That's true. But for me there was no contradiction. My column for Frank was a satirical column, which I still think was very funny.

C: It was. [Laughs.]

MC: The funniest thing in Frank. But if you think of people—and I'm not in their league, obviously—but if you think of people like Auberon Waugh, who I've been really inspired by, I don't see contradiction, though admittedly many other people did. When I was writing about the ones I loved—Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton—it was very different from when I was writing about people I didn't, like H.G. Wells. [Laughs.] One was a labour of love; one was something entirely different. They're heroes and illuminating them was a duty and a pleasure. I will say this, I can't see myself ever writing a biography again. I think it would be very, very unlikely that would ever happen. I'm not even sure how I got into biography, but I did; and before I knew it, I'd written a whole bunch of them. But that's unlikely to happen again. Partly commercially—the market—but I just... I've changed.

C: What some would perceive as a division or a polarity, or two sides of one person, in many ways I think it also mirrors the spiritual restlessness thatyou represent. Your family was Jewish, and then you became a Catholic, and then you lost faith in institutional Rome, if not in the broader Christian Church, and after a period away have now come back to Rome. So you epitomize God's Pilgrim Church on earth.

MC: [Laughs.] My father was Jewish, and so I was raised in a home that was... It was lovely. It was very ordinary. But my dad had no time for organized Judaism. In a way, he was fairly hostile. Not in an aggressive way. He was proud of his culture and what he was and who he was, but he had no time for organized religion. My mom and dad thought that the Church of England was nice because they were very English. They thought Catholics were odd, so there was implicit belief in God but no more than that. I came into the Church in 1985, and it was quite a journey. I thought about it for years, and I approached it, took a step back, approached it and finally, in '85, became a Catholic. I met my wife the following year. I did leave the Church.... Well, I certainly stopped practising, worshipping as a Catholic for about five years. I came back to the Church, I think, about 10 years ago. I'm not going to blame anyone for that, because people have gone through far worse and remained faithful Catholics, but there were issues that just pushed me away from the Church. I was very hurt by certain things. But I drifted away and I worshipped as an Evangelical for about five or six years, which taught me a lot. It must have been very hard on people around me, I think. But then I came back. You know, the twitch upon the thread [in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited]. But you're very accurate when you say restless. Even within the Church, there is restlessness. I think I'm probably insecure and a little neurotic and far more fragile than people assume. I'm being horribly honest with you here. But none of it would make any sense at all outside of the Church. I'm very much the Evelyn Waugh line: 'How can you be a Catholic and be so awful?' 'Imagine how I would be if I wasn't a Catholic.' That applies to me to a certain degree directly but also in terms of my insecurities. Quite seriously. Even though I've been very lucky and successful, none of it would make any sense at all outside of Catholicism. And I don't just mean Christianity, I mean Catholicism. It gives, as you know, such a... it joins the dots together. It makes meaning out of something that in many ways is completely meaningless, especially in the 21st century. The world has been turned upside down.

C: Right, we're all dizzy. We all have vertigo. The response to your article on the late Archbishop Ambrozic, and the fallout from that... the way people responded to what you saw as simply doing your job as a journalist, was that one of the catalysts for you rethinking being formally involved with the Church?

MC: It was. I'm not completely blameless here. He thought he was getting a puff piece, I suppose. And so he said things that he assumed.... You know, I haven't thought about this in some time. It was a long time ago. What I found very strange about the whole thing was that he had his own tape recorder. He wanted a tape recorder on. His own. It's never happened to me before. I've never done an interview where someone had their own tape recorder. And that was fine. And I didn't ask him any difficult questions. Believe me, I didn't. He volunteered things, and he used language that was harsh. I didn't think it was so bad, but he... the man is gone now, so I don't want to say too much, but when he used [crude phrases] I wondered, 'Should I put this in?' And a friend of mine said, 'Mike, if this had been a politician or a journalist or a businessperson or a sportsman, would you even be having this debate with yourself ?' And I said, 'Well, no.' As soon as you consider not putting it in because it's an archbishop... I realized they were right. I had to be honest. And the reaction, of course, was extremely fierce and, I thought, very unreasonable.

C: You took a lot of heat for that one article.

MC: People were so vicious. They were so unkind, the things they said about me and... I didn't make it a big story. It appeared in Toronto, and then other people picked it up. And then there were these attacks on me. I remember—I haven't thought about this in ages—but there was a priest who actually said I'd been hanging around outside schools to pick up information. And it was really almost pedophile-like, just incredible! The priest actually said that. I was given a story that a priest went to visit the Archbishop and came out crying, actually burst into tears because he had been treated so harshly [by Ambrozic], which I thought was extraordinary. But when someone gave me the story, I said, 'I'm not going to put that in the article, it will absolutely destroy the man, he'd be so humiliated.' This same priest wrote a piece saying I'd been hanging around outside schools. It was really very shocking. You're right, there was part of that and then, when I tried to apologize, not that I thought I'd written very much wrong, but something wrong, perhaps... I was rejected time and time again. Even physically. I was at a function with the Archbishop, and I tried to go over to shake his hand, and he would not. He just moved away. He would not shake my hand. And these things do shake you a bit, I suppose. And I thought... it came after a lot of other social justice Sandinistia lunacy that had been thrown at me in the Church when I first came to Canada and seeing a lot of obvious sexual ambiguity. I'm a very urban guy.

I grew up in London. I kept coming across teachers and educational leaders and priests as well who were obviously homosexual, and this was quite shocking to me, and others would say, 'No, no, surely not' and I would say, 'Well, I think it's pretty obvious,' and there were issues, there were problems—remember, this was the midto late-'80s—and a combination of factors just pushed me away for a while. But it doesn't excuse me, and it doesn't forgive me.

C: It's a really difficult thing to navigate for those who regard themselves as Catholic journalists because obviously, as Catholics, within the way we make sense of the world, that hierarchy needs to be respected. And yet, as a journalist, if something's true, it's true. And if it needs to be reported, it needs to be reported. So it's a tricky line, isn't it?

MC: It is. It was a long time ago now, but I remember at one point during that interview, I said, 'Should we turn the tape recorder off ?' And he said, 'No, no, no, that's fine.' So he seemed to be giving the go-ahead, and if he would have said anything that was in confidence, I would have respected that; but he never did. And people [never said] to me, 'What happened, Michael?' They immediately began to attack me as a messenger. It wasn't so bad, people weren't coming to get me or anything, but I saw a circling of the wagons. I know that when Cardinal Collins came in, very early, and one of the things he wanted to do was bring me back... 'Michael's a good guy, and he's on our side.' So, it's a very long time ago.

I really haven't thought about that in many years, and I also think that Ambrozic was treated quite badly at the end. And I suspect it was quite hard on him later on. And I'm sorry for that. It was a difficult time for him.

C: Coming back to Why Catholics Are Right, there's an interesting polarity to that book because the title, which you and I have had a conversation about...

MC: [Laughs.]

C: ...is very provocative. It's a 'here I stand, I can do no other' kind of title directed outward from the Church toward the greater world. This is why we are right. And yet the content of the book is very much apologetic, isn't it? And I don't mean apologizing, I mean apologetic. It's there to stiffen the will of Catholics who might find themselves a bit overwhelmed by the wave of vermin coming at them from modernity.

MC: Thank you, that's exactly what it is meant to be. There may be the occasional new observation and interpretation for people who really know this stuff, but for the most part, it's just meant to give backing to those Catholics who do believe, but just need a bit of intellectual firebrand substance to make the odd argument and reassure themselves.

I don't want to sound too precious here, but my God, just today I got an e-mail from a teacher, a Catholic teacher in Ontario—you know what they're going through—and he said, 'I'm a religion teacher and pretty much every day I read bits of your book to my class and they love it.' So this is great; it's really helped people. I don't know why it wasn't written before, a book like this. There have been books that are not completely dissimilar, but not incorporating different areas in one book. It was a pretty obvious thing to do, in a way. I do know why it came to me—because I've been doing this on radio and TV for years. I'm just putting it down on paper. But it is apologetics, and I think a lot of us have just said, 'Come on, what are we frightened of ?' We're despised anyway by the powers that be. We're pushed out of the public square, so if we actually—without being rude but maybe a bit funny here and there, and just logical about things—if we just state our case, then, hey, we might actually convince a few people. And we're very unlikely to push people away. I think that's generally been the result. You know, no one has said, 'Well, I was considering Catholicism, but I won't do it now.'

C: No one is heading for the church exits because of your book.

MC: No one has done that, and quite a few people have said the opposite. And the title, well, you've got to grab people. I could have called it Why Catholicism Is Right. That could easily have been the title, but we wanted to make it... I'll tell you a story: With McClelland & Stewart, Tarek Fatah's book, The Jew is Not My Enemy, originally had the title Why We Hate Jews. [Laughs.] And it was going to go ahead, but then finally people said, 'How could you read this on the TTC, on the subway, on the bus.... We can't do it.'

C: It reminds me of my early days in journalism, the days of Margaret Trudeau rollicking with the Rolling Stones. For some reason, she visited the small city where I worked and she absolutely refused to give the paper an interview or talk to anyone local. The day she left, somebody put the headline 'Maggie Blows Town' on a story about her leaving abruptly and it was almost printed before someone caught it and changed it. You wouldn't want to be seen on the bus reading that, either.

MC: If people don't actually look at your work, then what's the point of it? I've just been commissioned to do another book, the third in this series. There was to be one on Israel, which I'm going to do next year. But this one is a book outlining the argument against same-sex marriage. It won't be done until the end of the summer. And that's a book I'm really quite excited about because it's very important. It's something that's happening in Britain right now and, of course, we have it here in Canada, and the fight is on in the States. I've been quite good, I think, at outlining the arguments without being absurd and homophobic. It's not really about homosexuality, of course. It's about marriage. Gay people can do whatever they want to do; it's entirely up to them. It's not about condemning them. It's about supporting and defending marriage. And it's a shorter book. Not that these books are that long, but this is 50,000 words, using surveys from Europe and so on and a logical argument about what marriage is and what its relationship is with the State and so on. So that will complete the trilogy. I suppose some will call it 'The Trilogy of Hatred.' [Laughs.]

C: Your work seems to correspond to a time when there is an opening toward defending faith. Certainly The Arena is very open about defending faith in the public square, or at least the right to make the arguments. Not necessarily that the arguments are right, but the right to make the argument. How hard was it convincing the powers that be at Sun News that this kind of show was needed and the time was right for it?

MC: Not hard at all. In fact, they came to me. They came to me a long time ago, before the station was on, and asked if I would do the show. I thought about it hard, but it was pretty difficult to leave a comfortable job with CTS to go to a new station that I didn't know had any future. I've got kids and responsibilities, so I turned it down with great reluctance. I was nervous of making that leap. And then it was—well, I don't say this very often—but it was Providential, because they contacted me again and said, 'Mike, could you please reconsider coming over, we really would like you to do a show.' CTS wanted me to do a live 11 p.m. phone-in show, because they could save money by not having any guests on the show. And I thought, 'I'm being told something here.' So I left. Sun News said, 'Do whatever you want to do,' but they encouraged me to talk about religion. They knew that the people who take religion seriously in this country, even if it's just 25 per cent—if all of those people watch your show, you'll be the biggest thing on TV. [Laughs.] And they're trying to register with those people, people of faith, conservatives, people who have felt neglected by mainstream media. I have my own internal regulator... like a heating system, I suppose. There are people who would like me to talk about religion all the time. I can't do that; and I don't.

C: It would risk becoming pretty boring, pretty quickly.

MC: You lose people. But certainly, where religion and culture segue and connect, we certainly talk about it. We have five shows. We talk about maybe 20 to 25 different issues a week, and it wouldn't surprise me if religion were not three or four of them. If you include Islam, it's more, but that's more a cultural issue than anything. So no, no convincing. They wanted me to do it, and it is doing very well.

C: It's fascinating that there's actually a business case to be made for paying attention to religion, at least as a sociological phenomenon if not as a proselytizing vehicle. As a demographic phenomenon, there's a business case to be made for it.

MC: I think we see that with Convivium. People feel they've been told to shut up for so long, and it has to change.

C: You give many speeches to faith groups and organizations. What's the mood in those groups? Is there a sense of optimism that we may have come through the worst of the dark time? Or are we about to really turn out the lights?

MC: I don't know if it's either, in a way. It always amazes me... I spoke to a church... this year has been very busy, and I love it, I really enjoy doing it... but I was in Etobicoke at a parish church on Sunday, and it was standing room only. It was packed. And the same when I was at the Basilica in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago. The numbers are still there. The serious people are there. And they're more serious; and they're really devoted and dedicated. I don't know if they're optimistic about the culture, but they're optimistic about themselves and their beliefs.

I think maybe now this accepted division between what we believe and how we live and the rest of the country – and anyone who puts their children through public education knows that – my golly, things have changed so much. Our youngest is 14, and you realize now what it means to be a 14-yearold.... The number of kids who cut themselves, who use serious drugs – I'm not talking about cannabis.

If we say that the Christian model is at one place, well, the decline, the move away from the Christian model, deepens every year or two. I think a lot of people have just said, look, as long as we maintain our own faith, that's the only way we can survive all this. So I don't know if it's pessimism, probably realism.

C: People recognize that 'we are countercultural now, but so what? Let's just get on with it.'

MC: That's right. And those older Catholics who keep on about social justice – of course, they don't mean social justice, they mean their chosen causes – they're moribund. And they're just silly. It's like 40 years ago: 'We must stand solid with Fidel and the forces of liberation.' They're irrelevant. Even the NDP knows that. I find it amusing that the clever people in the NDP – Jack Layton, Tom Mulcair – accepted some time ago that if they are going to achieve anything like power, they are going to have to be a moderate party. But you still have those old Catholics—there aren't many left—who are on the left of the NDP as MPs or in our electorate still thinking they can be very radical and change the world. That's long gone, I'm afraid.

C: It's fascinating that there's actually a business case to be made for paying attention to religion, at least as a sociological phenomenon if not as a proselytizing vehicle. As a demographic phenomenon, there's a business case to be made for it.

MC: I think we see that with Convivium. People feel they've been told to shut up for so long, and it has to change.

C: You give many speeches to faith groups and organizations. What's the mood in those groups? Is there a sense of optimism that we may have come through the worst of the dark time? Or are we about to really turn out the lights?

MC: I don't know if it's either, in a way. It always amazes me... I spoke to a church... this year has been very busy, and I love it, I really enjoy doing it... but I was in Etobicoke at a parish church on Sunday, and it was standing room only. It was packed. And the same when I was at the Basilica in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago. The numbers are still there. The serious people are there. And they're more serious; and they're really devoted and dedicated. I don't know if they're optimistic about the culture, but they're optimistic about themselves and their beliefs. I think maybe now this accepted division between what we believe and how we live and the rest of the country—and anyone who puts their children through public education knows that—my golly, things have changed so much. Our youngest is 14, and you realize now what it means to be a 14-yearold.... The number of kids who cut themselves, who use serious drugs—I'm not talking about cannabis. If we say that the Christian model is at one place, well, the decline, the move away from the Christian model, deepens every year or two. I think a lot of people have just said, look, as long as we maintain our own faith, that's the only way we can survive all this. So I don't know if it's pessimism, probably realism.

C: People recognize that 'we are countercultural now, but so what? Let's just get on with it.'

MC: That's right. And those older Catholics who keep on about social justice—of course, they don't mean social justice, they mean their chosen causes—they're moribund. And they're just silly. It's like 40 years ago: 'We must stand solid with Fidel and the forces of liberation.' They're irrelevant. Even the NDP knows that. I find it amusing that the clever people in the NDP—Jack Layton, Tom Mulcair—accepted some time ago that if they are

C: We're told that we're this diverse and multicultural, pluralistic society, and yet much of it seems like monochromatic secularism. The Convivium project is about faith in common life. In your daily life, do you think Canadians share a common life that we can and should have faith in?

MC: I think that for the Western world, race was irrelevant quite a long time ago, and in the United States it still has a certain dynamic because of the heritage of slavery. But in Canada, only some lunatic is going to believe that race is still an issue. We can have commonality that is more significant and deeper than racial difference. So being Canadian, I don't think that's a tangible commonality. But living in Canada and co-existing—even though that sounds a bit weak—that is something that does give us a common cause. My fear is that it has increasingly pushed religion out of its boundaries, and genuine religion is seen as something that is damaging to common life. Even within conservatism, the Canadian commonality, the Canadian purpose... there seems to be a belief that religion holds this back. There are Conservatives who are saying, 'We've got to get rid of [religion]; it's holding us back. If we're really going to have Canadian commonality and a Canadian conservative commonality, then we really have to push religion to the side. If you want a religion, that's fine. Just keep it to yourself.' That worries me.

C: I think you could make the argument that when religion is pushed entirely into the private sphere, you end up with families being pushed into canals, don't you? Because you get these autocratic fathers who hold sway in their private little hellholes with no obligation or commitment to a wider public meaning.

MC: That's true, certainly. [Take] Islam. That will demand a certain religious reaction because as Scandinavia has found out, you can't defeat Islam—not just Islamic fundamentalism but Islamic orthodoxy—with secularism. People are not going to die for something that is so vague. There will be an increasing interest, I think, in orthodox Christianity because there's no other real counterweight. What do we propose as an alternative? The idea of socialized medicine and 40 different channels on TV is not going to convince anyone. I think Islam will change everyone's thinking in terms of religion in the public square. It's going to be interesting. It's a huge threat. It's also going to bash some doors down, but in so doing it may allow us to go through as well.


 

About Michael Coren

Michael Coren is the host of The Arena, a nightly television show on Sun News. For more than twelve years he was host/producer of The Michael Coren Show on Crossroads Television, presenting more than 3000 episodes and winning numerous awards. The Arena stresses international coverage—particularly the Middle East, the U.S. and Europe—but also takes on social, moral, and religious issues and Canadian life and politics. Michael Coren is irreverent, thoughtful and hard-hitting.

Michael is a weekly columnist with the Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg Sun newspapers, and in more than a dozen other daily and weekly newspapers across Canada. He is also a columnist for Women's Post, The Catholic Register, The Landowner and The Interim. He also appears each Wednesday on Newstalk 1010 radio.

He is the best-selling author of fourteen books, including biographies of G.K. Chesterton, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. He has contributed to the Dictionary of National Biography and several other anthologies. He is published in many countries and in more than a dozen languages.

He has received several honorary doctorates and awards for his writing and broadcasting. In 2005 he won The Ed Murrow Award for Radio Broadcasting, in 2006 The RTNDA Radio Broadcasting Award, in 2007 the Communicator Award in Hollywood and in 2008 the Omni Award for his television show.

Michael Coren is a frequent speaker on a number of issues.