Ian Brown
Award-Winning Journalist, Disability Speaker

Ian Brown is an acclaimed Canadian journalist and author, and recipient of over a dozen national magazine and newspaper awards. He is the author of The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Search for his Disabled Son, Freewheelin’Man Overboard, and Sixty: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? A Diary of My Sixty-First Year. He is the editor of What I Meant to Say: The Private Lives of Men. Ian is an experienced speaker on disability-related topics such as genetic testing, society’s assumptions about the disabled, and the meanings of disability and success. He is also a passionate explorer of the worth and the meaning of life.


The Boy in the Moon is a candid memoir about Ian’s son Walker, who was diagnosed with Cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) Syndrome, an extremely rare genetic mutation.  At age fifteen, Walker is mentally and developmentally between one and three years old and will need constant care for the rest of his life. Ian’s story follows his experiences of raising, loving, and trying to understand his son and the discovery of profound meaning in that spiritual adventure. For excellence in literary non-fiction, The Boy in the Moon has been awarded three of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards: the $25,000 Charles Taylor Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the $40,000 British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.


Ian is a feature writer for The Globe and Mail and the anchor of TVO’s Human Edge and The View from Here, Canada’s television documentary series. He also contributes occasionally to NPR’s This American Life and is a contributing editor at Explore Magazine. He has also worked as a business writer at Maclean’s and the Financial Post and is a freelance journalist for other magazines including Saturday Night.


Ian earned his B.A. from Trinity College, University of Toronto.

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The Boy in the MoonA Father's Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son
St. Martin's Griffin

Ian Brown's son Walker is one of only about 300 people worldwide diagnosed with cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome—an extremely rare genetic mutation that results in unusual facial appearance, the inability to speak, and a compulsion to hit himself constantly. At age thirteen, he is mentally and developmentally between one and three years old and will need constant care for the rest of his life. Brown travels the globe, meeting with genetic scientists and neurologists as well as parents, to solve the questions Walker's doctors can't answer. In his journey, he offers an insightful critique of society's assumptions about the disabled, and he discovers a connected community of families living with this illness. As Brown gradually lets go of his self-blame and hope for a cure, he learns to accept the Walker he loves, just as he is.

Boy in the Moon Ian’s lectures shed light on his experiences raising Walker and offer an insightful critique of society’s assumptions about the disabled.

Check out Ian Brown’s latest work for Globe and Mail here.

Read a review of “Sixty.”

Learn more about Ian Brown here and follow him on Twitter.

Praise For Ian Brown

"Ian Brown was a huge success! His speech was very inspirational, informative and entertaining, all at once."
–Robin Colyer, Centre of Excellence for the Physically, Intellectually and Multi-Challenged

“I would like to say that Mr. Brown’s presentation was the most inspirational speech I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, reminding us all of the awareness and the sense of humanity in our work with a disabled child and [his or her] parents. He touched everyone’s heart. There was humour. . . . there were times that you could hear a pin drop as well. There were times that people had tears in their eyes. Above all, he reached every one of us; parents, teachers, professionals and administrators.   Everyone was able to relate at some point to the reality of caring for a disabled child. At the end of his presentation, there was a standing ovation! It was beautiful.”
–Diana Poot, Centre of Excellence for the Physically, Intellectually and Multi-Challenged

"Ian Brown’s lectureship was a resounding success—maybe he didn’t tell you that he received a standing ovation. The audience really connected to his story—many registrants shared with me how important his talk was to them. Thank you organizing this talk for us. . . . it has been a pleasure working with you."
–Johanna Darra, PhD, University of Alberta Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.