I’m a writer and journalist based in Toronto. My first book, Opium Eater: The New Confessions, is about opioid painkillers & pain. Opium Eater is a Globe 100 Best Book of 2016. You can get it here or ask your local bookstore to order it in.
“In her Confessions – a 21st-century update on De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) – Zwarenstein achieves that rare thing: a dispassionate account informed by deeply personal experience. Readers will benefit from this measured look at the causes of our increased dependence, which doubles as a critical memoir on the relationship between opioids, creativity, and pain.”
Opium Eater is taught on graduate and undergraduate university courses in both English literature and addiction studies. Find out more about teaching Opium Eater.
I live in Toronto, spend time in Mexico City, and write about a lot of different things, both in books and as a long-time independent journalist.
Right now I am working on a novel inspired by a real-life massacre of students in 1968 Mexico, transformed and transposed to a divided, unreal Toronto; and on a book of essays about travels in the world–and in the mind. Current journalism and essay projects touch on subjects as diverse as kindness, visual arts, harm reduction, evidence in medicine & climate science, and literature.