About Philip

Portrait of Philip Slayton. Photo by Pam Purves.
PHILIP SLAYTON
PHOTO CREDIT: PAM PURVES

After studying law at Oxford University as a Manitoba Rhodes Scholar, Philip Slayton clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa. Then, for thirteen years, he pursued an academic career, teaching at McGill University and becoming dean of law at the University of Western Ontario. Philip then went into legal practice with a major Canadian law firm in Toronto, and worked on many of the biggest corporate and commercial transactions of the time. He retired from the practice of law in 2000.

Since leaving legal practice Philip Slayton has written eight books. Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada’s Legal Profession was published in hardcover by Viking Canada in 2007 and in paperback by Penguin Canada in 2008. Mighty Judgment: How the Supreme Court of Canada Runs Your Life was published in hard cover in 2011 by Allen Lane and as a paperback by Penguin Canada in 2012. In 2013 Philip independently published Bay Street: A Novel, a legal thriller. The Toronto Star described Bay Street as “expert and engaging… exciting and hilarious… a first rate crime novel…” Mayors Gone Bad was published in hard cover by Viking in May of 2015. How To Be Good: The Struggle Between Law and Ethics (with Patricia Chisholm), a collection of essays first published in Canadian Lawyer magazine, was published in 2017. Tennis Crazy: The Future of Tennis (with Peter Figura) was published in 2018 by Skyhorse Publications of New York. Nothing Left to Lose: An Impolite Report on the State of Freedom in Canada was published by Sutherland House in 2020. Antisemitism: An ancient hatred in the age of identity politics was published by Sutherland House in March 2023. Philip is currently working on a novel set in 19th-century sub-Saharan Africa.

Philip divides his time between Toronto and Nova Scotia. He is married to the writer Cynthia Wine. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow; President of the Canadian Rhodes Scholars Foundation; Co-Chairman of the Canadian Campaign for Oxford; a Governor of Sheridan College; and president of PEN Canada. In 1998, Oxford University named him a “Distinguished Friend” of the University. Philip and Cynthia were founders (in 2002) of the Port Medway Readers Festival, a highly successful summer literary festival on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, and founders (in 2017) of the Seely Hall Society, dedicated to promoting interest in the local history of Port Medway and the surrounding area and helping restore, protect, and use as a local resource, the historic Port Medway building known as Seely Hall, which they have since given to the Medway Area Heritage Society. In 2021 Seely Hall received an award from the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia in recognition of its restoration.

Books by Philip Slayton

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Lawyers Gone Bad

2007

Viking Canada

"…smart and lively… Slayton’s credentials… make him just the man to figure out why lawyers who go bad do so."

–Toronto Star

“Slayton knows how to tell a human-interest, human frailty tale. And he seamlessly interweaves his larcenous-or-libidinous-lawyer stories with the larger legal and ethical issues at play. Lawyers Gone Bad can be read for fun, or for edification, or both.”

–Winnipeg Free Press

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mighty Judgment

2011

Allen Lane Canada

“Giving an insider’s look at how the court operates, he mixes telling detail with enlivening anecdote. …That the court makes law will come as no surprise to serious scholars who have studied the court’s work. But the biggest contribution of Mighty Judgment is bringing this undisputed fact compellingly to readers’ consciousness. …Slayton has done a great service in bringing the personalities and procedures of Canada’s supreme court into clear view for a wide readership.”

– Literary Review of Canada

“…provocative, breezily written mixture of anecdotes, case comments, and personal reflections… Slayton’s work, both on the legal profession and now the Supreme Court, has been a catalyst for important conversations about the place of law in a democracy, both within and outside legal circles…”

– Lorne Sossin, Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School

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Bay Street by Philip Slayton

2013

Oblonsky Editions

“…expert and engaging… exciting and hilarious… a first rate crime novel.”

– Jack Batten,Toronto Star

“A Bay Street law firm may be the perfect murder-mystery setting: A place rife with races for power and money, and more recently, a growing sense of unease about what the future holds.”

– Jeff Gray, the Globe and Mail

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Mayors Gone Bad

2015

Viking Canada

“Mayors Gone Bad is a rollicking good read, impossible for political junkies to put down.”

-Halifax Chronicle-Herald

“In Mayors Gone Bad Slayton combines skilful analysis with engagingly lucid writing… This is a carefully crafted, well-documented book.”

-Winnipeg Free Press

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How to be Good by Philip Slayton

2017

Oblonsky Editions

“An absolute marvel …I believe Mr. Slayton’s advice is vital. Sometimes it will sideswipe you but you will also find a refuge, a strength, and the knowledge that you are not alone.”

– Julian Porter, Q.C.

"Lawyers need this! & loved ones of lawyers!"

-Margaret Atwood, Twitter

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Tennis Crazy by Philip Slayton, with photos by Peter Figura

2018

Skyhorse

“This book is perhaps the best tonic for any tennis fan who fears for the future of the game in the inevitable, post-Roger Federer era. A delightful marriage of photography and graceful prose.”

– Peter Bodo, ESPN.com tennis columnist

“A compelling combination of original photography and insightful commentary.”

-Andrei Medvedev

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Mothing Left to Lose by Philip Slayton

2020

Sutherland House

"Philip Slayton's new book is a tonic for curing the great Canadian vice of complacency, the easy satisfaction we take in our supposed superiority. You don't have to agree with everything he says, or even most of it, to appreciate his forensic skills in locating and describing our most urgent problems."

-Jeet Heer

"This is a brave book: a cogent, provocative discussion of the state of freedom in Canada today."

-Anna Porter

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Antisemitism by Philip Slayton

2023

Sutherland House

“Philip Slayton has succeeded in writing a book on an explosive subject which is fair to everyone – traditionalists, Zionists, assimilationists and Palestinians . Only the anti- semites are not redeemed and even there, the different definitions of anti-semitism are treated dispassionately.Weaving together family history, the history of the Jews, politics and sociology, Slayton has made a novel and welcome contribution to this topic.”

– Julius Grey, author of Capitalism and the Alternatives

ANTISEMITISM has been chosen by the Rhodes Trust in England as one of “120 books for 120 years.” This list is part of the Trust’s celebration of its 120th anniversary.

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The Endgame

This weekly newsletter, published on Substack, looks at issues and events through the prism of the endgame. The endgame is a chess concept. In the endgame only a handful of pieces are left on the board. Few moves remain. Victory or defeat is close. Player options are limited and diminishing. Zugzwang is a particularly important aspect of the endgame. It is Zugzwang when a player’s only available moves will worsen his position. Click here to look at the archive of published newsletters and subscribe for free if you wish.

CONTACT PHILIP

Publicity and Research

Gabrielle Domingues
[email protected]
(416) 729-1236

Representation

The Beverley Slopen Literary Agency
131 Bloor St. W., Suite 711
Toronto, Canada M5S 1S3
tel: (416) 964-9598, Fax: (416) 921-7726
[email protected]

To contact Philip directly, use the form below.

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PHILIP SLAYTON

AUTHOR | LAWYER

ABOUT PHILIP

After studying law at Oxford University as a Manitoba Rhodes Scholar, Philip Slayton clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa. Then, for thirteen years, he pursued an academic career, teaching at McGill University and becoming dean of law at the University of Western Ontario. Philip then went into legal practice with a major Canadian law firm in Toronto, and worked on many of the biggest corporate and commercial transactions of the time. He retired from the practice of law in 2000.

Since leaving legal practice Philip Slayton has written eight books. Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada’s Legal Profession was published in hardcover by Viking Canada in 2007 and in paperback by Penguin Canada in 2008. Mighty Judgment: How the Supreme Court of Canada Runs Your Life was published in hard cover in 2011 by Allen Lane and as a paperback by Penguin Canada in 2012. In 2013 Philip independently published Bay Street: A Novel, a legal thriller. The Toronto Star described Bay Street as “expert and engaging… exciting and hilarious… a first rate crime novel…” Mayors Gone Bad was published in hard cover by Viking in May of 2015. How To Be Good: The Struggle Between Law and Ethics (with Patricia Chisholm), a collection of essays first published in Canadian Lawyer magazine, was published in 2017. Tennis Crazy: The Future of Tennis (with Peter Figura) was published in 2018 by Skyhorse Publications of New York. Nothing Left to Lose: An Impolite Report on the State of Freedom in Canada was published by Sutherland House in 2020. Antisemitism: An ancient hatred in the age of identity politics was published by Sutherland House in March 2023. Philip is currently working on a novel set in 19th-century sub-Saharan Africa.

Philip divides his time between Toronto and Nova Scotia. He is married to the writer Cynthia Wine. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow; President of the Canadian Rhodes Scholars Foundation; Co-Chairman of the Canadian Campaign for Oxford; a Governor of Sheridan College; and president of PEN Canada. In 1998, Oxford University named him a “Distinguished Friend” of the University. Philip and Cynthia were founders (in 2002) of the Port Medway Readers Festival, a highly successful summer literary festival on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, and founders (in 2017) of the Seely Hall Society, dedicated to promoting interest in the local history of Port Medway and the surrounding area and helping restore, protect, and use as a local resource, the historic Port Medway building known as Seely Hall, which they have since given to the Medway Area Heritage Society.

BOOKS BY PHILIP SLAYTON

Click any image to go to the Amazon page.

Viking Canada
(2007)
Allen Lane Canada
(2011)
Oblonsky Editions
(2013)
Viking Canada
(2015)
Skyhorse (2018)
Oblonsky Editions (2017)
Sutherland House
(2020)
Sutherland House
(2023)

Publicity and Research

Gabrielle Domingues
[email protected]
(416) 729-1236

Representation

The Beverley Slopen Literary Agency
131 Bloor St. W., Suite 711
Toronto, Canada M5S 1S3
tel: (416) 964-9598, Fax: (416) 921-7726
[email protected]

To contact Philip directly:

The Endgame

Click image to go to Substack.

This weekly newsletter, published on Substack, looks at issues and events through the prism of the endgame. The endgame is a chess concept. In the endgame only a handful of pieces are left on the board. Few moves remain. Victory or defeat is close. Player options are limited and diminishing. Zugzwang is a particularly important aspect of the endgame. It is Zugzwang when a player’s only available moves will worsen his position. Click here to look at the archive of published newsletters, and subscribe for free if you wish.