Erika's
Books
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Welcome to “erikaritter.com”. On this website, you can learn about my professional life as a playwright, novelist, humorist, essayist, radio broadcaster, journalist, public speaker and stage performer, with plays and prose widely produced in Canada, the United States, Britain, Japan, Israel and elsewhere. But by way of introduction, I’d like to give you a quick snapshot of me as a person.

I grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan in the 1950s and early 60s, wistful for worlds beyond. Early on, I developed an enormous love of books, movies and TV comedy and drama, an irrepressible imagination, and lots of ambition for a career in the arts. To this day, I continue to marvel at the good fortune that’s allowed me to survive—and occasionally, thrive—in arts-allied professions. For more about my personal view of writing, visit “This Writing Life”.

Thanks for visiting my website.
Best,

Erika Ritter.

...more about Erika

Featured Events

March 3, 2011 – 2:30 p.m. – Keynote speech: "The Dog Ate My Moral Compass, and Other Explanations for Our Inconsistencies about Animals" – Human Rites/Animal Bodies conference, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. For details, contact dmedoro@cc.umanitoba.ca.

March 23, 2011 – 12:30 p.m. – Presentation to students and faculty: "Inside Animal Minds" – Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto. For information, contact lfawcett@yorku.ca.

May 7, 2011 – 8:00 p.m. – Readings about animals as part of "Genius of the Wood" concert, Cantores Celestes Women's Choir, Runnymede United Church, Toronto. For details, visit www.cantorescelestes.com.

As soon as appearances in other locations are confirmed, they too will be posted.

Coming Up

 

On the page

NEWLY PUBLISHED IN PAPERBACK

The Dog by the Cradle, The Serpent Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human-Animal Relationships - Key Porter Books March 2010.

Finalist, Writers Trust Non-Fiction prize, 2009

Nominee, B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. 2009

Available at your favourite bookstore or online from
chapters/indigo or amazon.ca and amazon.com

The book’s title recalls one of the oldest and most compelling animal stories of all time: The sad saga of a devoted greyhound executed by his master for apparently attacking the man’s sleeping child Only after he’s killed his dog, does the master find the dead body of a serpent beneath the infant’s overturned cradle—evidence not only of the dog’s innocence, but also his courage in protecting the child from a venomous snake.

With this traditional tale as a starting point, Erika Ritter embarks on a journey—both in time and space--to the very heart of “Ark-ness” and follows the twisting trail of human-animal relationships from empathy to exploitation, from devotion to detestation, from comedy to cruelty, and beyond. Most importantly, Erika traces the essential contradictions in humanity’s relationships with our fellow creatures, from prehistoric worship of the cave-bear to the latest research on the intelligence of crows, to the future of animals’ legal rights.

As well, she probes the human-animal bond with experts in animal cognition, welfare advocates, philosophers and animal rights advocates. And she paints vivid pictures of research apes in retirement, a greyhound adoption convention, a public memorial for a fallen police horse and other unforgettable images of animals among us.

In a world where we increasingly identify our pets as family members, yet annually dispose of ever more strays, execute more livestock and sacrifice countless animals to research , there are paradoxes aplenty to investigate.At a time when animals are increasingly among us and yet continually below our radar, The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath offers observations both timely and timeless about Us and Them.

WHAT CRITICS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE DOG BY THE CRADLE, THE SERPENT BENEATH

THE GLOBE AND MAIL:
“Ritter's new book, The Dog By the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath, is a far-reaching exploration of the paradox underlying our relationships with animals. Her devotion to gaining insight into that tortured relationship is quite amazing.”

QUILL AND QUIRE:
“While a large library of books about our relations with animals already exists, the writing in them tends to be either overly emotional or grimly detached. Ritter deftly avoids both extremes. The result is a passionate, thought-provoking addition to the canon.”

ELIZABETH STONE, DEAN OF THE ONTARIO VETERINARY COLLEGE
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH, IN “OFF THE SHELF”:

“Drawing upon extensive research and interviews with experts spanning the globe, the author takes the reader on a wide-ranging trip through the complex world of human-animal relationships.”

THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS:
"With this wonderful book, her fourth foray into non-fiction and her second into the topic of human-animal relationships, Toronto's Erika Ritter confirms her reputation as a talented wordsmith and gifted cultural sage."

THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
“(Ritter’s) informal exploration—weighty and whimsical—of the contradictory way we treat animals—as slaves, prey or companions—is well-researched and thought-provoking…”