Elizabeth Abbott is an award-winning writer and historian whose books have been translated into 20 foreign languages. She has a special interest in women's issues, social justice for all, the treatment and lives of animals, and the environment. She has a doctorate from McGill University in 19th century history.
Before moving to Toronto, Elizabeth lived in Montreal and Port-au-Prince. She has written for many newspapers including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, The Gazette (Montreal), London Free Press, La Presse and La Gazette du Golfe (Benin), and magazines including Walrus, Quill & Quire, Equinox and Harrowsmith.
In 1991 Abbott’s article “Haiti: Where Rivers Run Brown” won a National Magazine Award for Environmental Writing. Her book l’Histoire Universelle de la Chastité et du Célibat, the translation of A History of Celibacy, won the Governor-General's Award for Translation. Sugar: A Bittersweet History and A History of Marriage were finalists for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the Governor General’s Literary Prize for Non-Fiction respectively.
From 1991 to 1993, Elizabeth was editor-in-chief of The Urban Pet, a monthly newspaper devoted to companion animals. She is a Senior Research Associate at Trinity College, University of Toronto and, from 1991 to 2004, was Trinity’s Dean of Women. She serves on the board of the Riverdale Historical Society, and is a Director of the St. Patrick's Benevolent Society. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and PEN Canada. She volunteers for the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and from 1995 to 2007 co-ordinated the Trinity College-Mount Sinai Hospital Pet Therapy Program. She served for several years on the Editorial Board of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation and the Rights and Freedoms Committee of The Writers' Union of Canada. She has received a Mount Sinai Hospital volunteer service award, a City of Toronto Community Service Volunteer Award and an Ontario Government Volunteer Service Award. The Riverdale Historical Society, which she co-founded in 1999, won the 2007 Heritage Toronto Community Heritage Award and the Members' Choice Award.
Elizabeth is a dog rescuer and lives with several rescued dogs and cats. In the 2015 Federal election, she was the Animal Alliance/Environment Voters Party (renamed the Animal Protection Party) candidate for Toronto-Danforth.