Carlotta Hacker - Author
Carlotta Hacker was born in England but was brought to Canada during World War II and went to school here. She later returned to Britain and graduated in history and English from St Andrew's University in Scotland.
Carlotta wanted to be a writer from her earliest years, but it was not until she was in her 30s that she began to get published. Her first published work was a travel book describing the two years she had spent working her way around the world. On this trip she met the Canadian filmmaker Hector J. (Red) Lemieux, whom she later married. This led to more travels as they wandered the world together making films. It also resulted in the book Africa Take One about their adventures when making films in Africa.
Wherever they went, Carlotta wanted to know how each country and its people came to be the way they were. This meant finding out about their past --- their history. She had always been fascinated by history, seeing it not as dates and politics but as stories about people. She couldn't believe it when she heard people saying Canadian history was dull. “But it's full of incredible people doing amazing things!” she said.
She was delighted when she was asked to write biographies and histories for young Canadians. One of the books she enjoyed writing most was The Book of Canadians because among the 700 brief biographies she could include villains and some very odd characters as well as heroes and pop stars. The Kids Book of Canadian History was another favorite.
As an editor under her married name Carlotta Lemieux, she has also tried to get others into Canadian history. She was Consulting and Contributing Editor for The Junior Encyclopedia of Canada, writing many of the biographies in it.
Where do you live now?
London, Ontario, though I have lived in many other places, too, including Pakistan, Australia and Easter Island (when working my way around the world), Africa and Central America (when making documentary films with my filmmaker husband), as well as Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Regina in Canada.
When did you start writing?
I wrote poetry as a child and I started writing a novel when I was 11, but didn't get beyond the second chapter.
What was your training or schooling?
My childhood schooling took place in many places. My father was in the British army, and because of his career we seldom stayed anywhere for long. I lived in Gibraltar between the ages of six and nine, and during World War II, when it looked as if England would be invaded, my mother, brothers and I were sent to Canada. I finished my schooling in England and then went to St. Andrews University in Scotland.
When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. It seemed a perfectly natural ambition. My mother was a poet and my grandmother had several novels and poetry books to her credit --- almost everyone on my mother's side of the family wrote articles or books or something, though they weren't all published authors. Sometimes they simply wrote a play or a poem for the family to perform.