Ritter was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, shortly after that province
entered Confederation—or maybe it just seems that long ago
to her. She studied Drama and other Arts subjects guaranteed to
generate big bucks at McGill University in Montreal (B.A. ’68)
and earned a Masters degree from the Drama Centre at the University
of Toronto in 1970.
After teaching Modern Literature, Drama and Children’s Literature
at Loyola College (now part of Concordia University in Montreal)
from 1971 to 1974, Ritter embarked upon a freelance writing career,
armed with lots of fanciful ideas—such as the notion that
there was a living to be made as a freelancer.
Oddly enough, there was. For lo these many years, she has pursued
a combination of stage and radio drama writing, humourous essays,
travel writing, short and long fiction, and radio broadcasting.
Erika Ritter’s published works include: “Automatic
Pilot” (a play, 1980); URBAN SCRAWL (MacMillan of Canada
1984) and RITTER IN RESIDENCE (McClelland & Stewart 1987), which
are both collections of humourous essays; THE
HIDDEN LIFE OF HUMANS (Key Porter Books 1997), a novel which
has sold in excess of 20,000 copies in Canada and has been translated
into Japanese; THE
GREAT BIG BOOK OF GUYS: ALPHABETICAL ENCOUNTERS WITH MEN (McClelland
& Stewart 2004); and, most recently, THE DOG BY THE CRADLE,
THE SERPENT BENEATH: SOME PARADOXES OF HUMAN-ANIMAL RELATIONSHIPS,
published by Key Porter Books. “Automatic
Pilot” has been performed at theatres across Canada, in
the U.S., and abroad. A radio adaptation by the author won an ACTRA
Award as Best Radio Drama in 1981, and another adaptation was broadcast
on BBC Radio.
Additionally, Ritter has been a humour columnist, social satirist
and travel writer for newspapers and magazines, mostly in Canada.
As a CBC Radio host, she has hosted a daily national two-hour interview
program (1985 to 1987), for which she won an ACTRA Award as Best
Host, and a weekly author-interview program (1988-90) and most recently
(2000-2005) “Ontario Morning” on CBC Radio, a daily
two-and-one-half-hour news and current affairs program heard across
southern and eastern Ontario and in Real Audio on the Internet.
Additionally, she has been a guest host of numerous local, regional
and national radio programs at the CBC, in a broadcast career of
20 years. She also has written a bi-monthly humour column “Unmuzzled”
for DOGS IN CANADA magazine, and is a frequent public speaker
on such subjects as gender relationships, comedy, communication,
and the interior lives of animals.
Erika Ritter lives in Toronto, but contrives to be out of town whenever
she can, and takes her writer’s block with her wherever she