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Montgomery Charles

Charles’ first book, The Last Heathen: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in Melanesia, won the 2005 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction. The book was published internationally as The Shark God in 2006. His second book Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design, was hugely successful in many countries, and established Charles as an expert in the expanding fields of urban design and the science of happiness. He and his team lead transformative conversations about happiness, cities, science, and place. Collaborating with the Guggenheim Museum, Futurewise, Mexico’s Lab Para La Ciudad, and other entities, Montgomery creates experiments that help people alter their relationships with their cities — and with each other. He has mapped the emotional effects of public space, tested the effects of city streets on kindness, and used hundreds of giant blocks to rebuild public space. Montgomery and his team have advised and lectured planners, students, and decision-makers in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the UK. Montgomery’s writings on urban planning, psychology, culture and history have appeared in magazines and journals on three continents. Among his numerous awards is a Citation of Merit from the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society for outstanding contribution towards understanding of climate change science. He lives in Vancouver and Mexico City.

Visit Charles Montgomery’s website


Charles’ Books:

Happy City: Transforming our Lives through Urban Design

Montgomery_Happy City

Doubleday, Canada (Fall 2013)

Penguin Press, UK (Fall 2013)

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, US (Fall 2013)


Wysoki Zamek, Poland

China Times, Taiwan

Igloo Media, Romania

Longlisted for the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize

Finalist for the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Shortlisted for the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

Longlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

The Last Heathen (The Shark God)

Montgomery_Last Heathen

Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., Canada

Fourth Estate, US & UK

Bertelsmann Media, Poland

Winner, Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction 2005