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Patricia Bow (1946–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

Born 1946, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Education: Carleton University, B.A., 1968; University of Toronto, 1969, B.L.S.; Conestoga College, 1995, Dip. Journalism. Religion: Anglican. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, textile arts.


Office—University of Waterloo, 100 University Ave. W., Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada.


Writer. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, publications specialist and writer, 1998–.


Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers, Waterloo Regional Arts Council.

Honors Awards

Literary Award, Waterloo Regional Arts Council, 1997; CCAE gold medal, 1999, for "The Last Gift"; first prize in cultural journalism category, Waterloo Regional Arts Council, 2002; Henry Bergh Children's Honor Book, ASPCA, 2004, for Chimpanzee Rescue; Best Bets Top-Ten List citation, Ontario Library Association (OLA), 2005, for The Bone Flute; OLA Silver Birch Award nomination, 2006, for The Bone Flute.


The Spiral Maze, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1997.

Chimpanzee Rescue, Firefly Books (Buffalo, NY), 2004.

The Bone Flute, Orca (Custer, WA), 2004.


Wendigo-Eisiger Tod (title means "Heart of Ice"), Cora Verlag (Hamburg, Germany), 1990.

Die Tottenglocke (title means "A Touch in the Fog"), Cora Verlag (Hamburg, Germany), 1992.

Der Spiegel zum Jenseits (title means "The Fire Glass"), Cora Verlag (Hamburg, Germany), 1992.

Das Tor zur Unterwelt (title means "The Whispering Stone"), Cora Verlag (Hamburg, Germany), 1994.

Satansmond (title means "Hag's Moon"), Cora Verlag (Hamburg, Germany), 1996.

Die Rache des Schamanen (title means "Shadow behind My Shoulder"), Cora Verlag (Hamburg, Germany), 1996.

Das Grab des Vampirs (title means "Child of Night"), 1998.

Das Garten des Henkers (title means "The Hangman's Garden"), Cora Verlag (Hamburg, Germany), 2000.

Aliete Jamart is just one of the many individuals profiled in Bow's Chimpanzee Rescue, which focuses on the men and women who work to create wildlife sanctuaries and other facilities for injured or endangered chimps.

Work in Progress

The Ruby Kingdom and The Catbird Spell, children's fantasies; Fear of Dark Water, a mystery/thriller for young adults; and Sparrow's Quest, a young-adult fantasy novel.


"I have been reading ever since the Ottawa Public Library opened its magic doors for me," Patricia Bow explained on her home page. Bow started her career as a librarian, but when she left her job to stay at home with her young son, she began writing. Bow's mystery and fantasy novels for young adults have pleased readers in the United States and Canada, as well as in Germany, where her first novel was originally published. Her nonfiction work for younger readers includes Chimpanzee Rescue, which describes chimpanzees and their struggle as an endangered species. Bow wrote about her evolution as a writer on her home page: "I started writing in longhand, later upgrading to a typewriter and still later to a computer, but the thrill of the story remains the same."

Bow began her writing career in 1990, and for the first seven years penned mystery novels in German. Her English-language book The Spiral Maze is a dark fan-tasy and a ghost story that tells the tale of Neil, whose deceased twin brother appears to him as a ghost to help him fight some dangerous forces. Neil must now discover the secrets of the home of his ancestors and the dark maze located just behind the house. A Resource Links reviewer called the book "an enticing read," while a Canadian Review of Materials critic found the story to be "a sophisticated mix of suspense, mystery, and thriller with a good measure of fantasy thrown in."

The Bone Flute also tells a tale of dark fantasy; in this tale, Camrose discovers that she is the heir to a mystical bone flute that is sought after by two more-than-mortal men. It is Camrose's job to decide to whom she will give the flute: the charming Diarmid, who lost his bride to the lord of the Underworld, or Gwyn, the underworld lord who sought to keep Diarmid's bride for himself. Camrose senses there might be another option to choose, however, and that is the mystery she sets out to solve. "The Bone Flute is a very enjoyable entertainment" that "offers good prose, lots of suspense, mystery, and … a satisfyingly frightening and intriguing antagonist for the hero," wrote K.V. Johansen in Resource Links. Canadian Review of Materials contributor Christy Goerzen commented that "the reader bites her nails right along with Camrose as the book speeds to its breathtaking conclusion."

Chimpanzee Rescue focuses on the plight of the endangered chimpanzees, as well as providing information about how the species survives in the wild. Bow goes into detail about why chimpanzees are in danger, and what conservationists are doing to try to keep them from becoming extinct. "The information is presented in a very logical order and is explained very well," wrote Janet Toope in Resource Links, while School Library Journal contributor Cynde Suite dubbed the book "well-written."

As Bow once told SATA, she began her writing career by chance: "I had been writing for my own pleasure for some twenty years before I considered submitting a YA novel (Heart of Ice) for publication. It was accepted by the Hamburg [Germany] publisher Cora Verlag and published in German. It took another seven or eight years and several intervening novels before I published in English (The Spiral Maze).

"I hope and trust I am delivering pleasurable reading—novels that are well-enough written and tell a compelling enough story that they will be re-read. A good story, well told, needs no further justification."

Bow gave SATA the following advice for young writers: "Read widely, especially outside your own genre. Write as much as possible. Master the tools of the language you'll be using. Work hard. Love writing for its own sake because the act of writing might be your only reward."

In Bow's 2004 novel a girl named Camrose is helped by loyal friends in her quest to reclaim an ancient instrument and return it to those from whom it was taken long ago. (Cover illustration by Vladyana Krykorka.)

Biographical and Critical Sources


Canadian Book Review Annual, 1997, review of The Spiral Maze, p. 504.

Canadian Children's Literature, fall-winter, 1998, review of The Spiral Maze.

Canadian Review of Materials, April 10, 1998, review of The Spiral Maze; October 15, 2004, Christy Goerzen, review of The Bone Flute.

Resource Links, February, 1998, review of The Spiral Maze, p. 118; December, 2004, K.V. Johansen, review of The Bone Flute, p. 34; April, 2005, Janet Toope, review of Chimpanzee Rescue, p. 41.

Quill & Quire, July, 1997, review of The Spiral Maze, p. 49.

School Library Journal, May, 2005, Cynde Suite, review of Chimpanzee Rescue, p. 144; October, 2005, review of Chimpanzee Rescue, p. 52.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2005, Shari Fesko, review of The Bone Flute, p. 144.


Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers Web site, http://www.canscaip.org/ (February 16, 2006), "Patricia Bow."

Patricia Bow Home Page, http://home.golden.net/∼thebows (February 16, 2006).

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Shennen Bersani (1961-) Biography - Personal to Mark Burgess Biography - Personal