Russell Wangersky was raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where his father was a professor of oceanography at Dalhousie University and his mother, a marine biologist, ran a tight ship.
His youth was spent exploring Halifax, save for that year in Barcelona when he was 10.
Growing up, Russell had a predilection for dangerous activity -- and then for explosions and being where he oughtn't be. He started playing rugby at 16 -- gave it up two broken noses, three cracked ribs and six concussions later. By then he was 32.
He attended Acadia University and chose philosophy over the family business of science, and edited the university's literary magazine, Alpha. He also signed up, during those university years, to be a volunteer firefighter in Wolfville, NS. He left the department after he completed his BA Honours in 1984, when he and his then-wife, Barbara Pratt, moved to Toronto. There, Russell worked as a researcher in the Queen's Park bureau of Southam News.
In 1986, the couple moved to St. John's, Newfoundland. Russell spent five years there as a reporter at the Sunday Express and five years at CBC Television. He also became a father to two boys before joining The Telegram in 1997.
He returned to firefighting as deputy chief when a volunteer department was established in the St. Philips - Portugal Cove area where he lived.
But shortly after Russell became The Telegram's editor in 2002, he began to struggle with the stress and horrors he'd encountered in firefighting and was forced to leave that part of his life behind.
At about the same time, his writing began to draw attention and acclaim in the literary world. Today, Russell lives in St. John's, where he is married to Leslie Vryenhoek. He divides his days between the newspaper, cooking and creative writing.