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Farewell to “punk rock poet” Jim Carroll and mystery writer Lyn Hamilton

Canadian mystery writer Lyn Hamilton passed away last Thursday at the age of 65. The Toronto-based writer, who was known for Chinese Alchemist, The Xibalba Murders and her globe-trotting heroine Lara McClintoch, died of cancer.

According to CBC News, Hamilton published her first novel at the age of 50 after working as director of Ontario’s cultural programs branch as well as working in communications with the government and private companies.

Hamilton’s work received much critical acclaim:  her eighth novel The Magyar Venus was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. She was also involved in mentoring, working with over 100 aspiring authors on their manuscripts, as well as serving as writer-in-residence for public libraries in North York and Kitchener.

There will soon be a space on Hamilton’s website for readers and fans to express their personal messages and regrets. 

This past Friday, “punk rock poet” Jim Carroll died of a heart attack at the age of 59 in his Manhattan home. Carroll was the author of the 1987 coming-of-age autobiographical novel The Basketball Diaries, which was made into a 1995 movie starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio.

Carroll was a cultural icon in the 1970s New York art and punk scene, mingling with such legends as Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, and Patti Smith and fronting the Jim Carroll band. 

Carroll also published several collections of poetry, performed spoken word, and collaborated with such musicians as Lou Reed, Boz Scaggs, and Pearl Jam. 

Says Brooklyn author Gary Risk Hallberg:

… in the subculture of which Jim Carroll was a sort of poet laureate–one of them anyway–the movie of The Basketball Diaries registers only as a minor souvenir. Before he was a screenwriter, Carroll was a diarist, a frontman, an addict, and a poet, and he left behind at least a couple of very good books.