Alumni Authors

Bookshelf with alumni books displayed
Summer reading? These books were all authored by social sciences alumni.

Alumni Authors

Just in time for summer we feature four alumni who have published non-academic books recently. These four very different books highlight how a background in social sciences can contribute to a writing career. Other social sciences graduates who have published books, please contact Sarah Tarnopolsky at to be included in future bookshelves.

Brian Payton — BA 1989 (Political Science and Creative Writing)

Brian Payton

Brian Payton is the author of two novels and two acclaimed works of narrative nonfiction. His recent novel, The Wind is Not a River, was chosen as an American Booksellers Association IndieNext “Great Reads” pick, an American Library Association “Library Reads” pick, an Amazon Book of the Month, and a BookPage Top Fiction pick (January 2014). It is an epic love story in which a husband and wife — separated by the only battle of World War II to take place on American soil — fight to reunite in Alaska’s starkly beautiful Aleutian Islands. Payton lives with his family in Vancouver.

Photo: Alison Rosa

Arno Kopecky — BA 2002 (Writing and Environmental Studies)

Arno Kopecky

Arno Kopecky is a Vancouver-based journalist and travel writer. The Oil Man and the Sea is his second book. Part investigative journalism, part environmental travelogue, it tells the story of a sailing expedition into British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest and the heart of the Northern Gateway Pipeline controversy.

Photo: Jay Devery

John Lee — MA 1996 (Political Science)

John Lee

John Lee is a travel writer living in Vancouver. Since 1999, he has been writing for various media around the world on a diverse range of travel subjects including beer, nightlife, food, museums, galleries and train trips. He is the travel concierge for Globe and Mail newspaper and the Vancouver Localite travel columnist for He is also the author of Walking Vancouver and Drinking Vancouver. John has written over 20 books for Lonely Planet, including his latest, the Vancouver City Guide.

Photo: Christopher Poon

John Lee's website

Charles Montgomery — BSc 1991 (Geography)

Charles Montgomery

Charles Montgomery writes, experiments, and creates transformative conversations about cities, science, and human well-being. He helps planners, city builders and regular people find new ways to see and change the world around them. He and his team also create participatory programs where people use their own cities as laboratories. His latest book, Happy City, looks at how lessons from psychology, neuroscience and design activism can help all of us fix broken cities and improve our lives.

Photo: Elizabeth Borne

There are so many exceptional and inspiring Social Sciences alumni. Want to read about others? Explore other themes:

You can also check out our Careers in the Social Sciences website. If you would like to feature on our profiles page or careers website, please , Alumni Relations Coordinator.

Every new achievement and discovery made by one of our students, researchers or alumni family increases the value of a UVic diploma. On this page, we take pride in your accomplishments, knowing that you're one of our own.