Meg Tilly has chiefly devoted herself to motherhood and writing since 1995, having returned to live in Canada in 1994, settling on Vancouver Island, with a recreational residence on Galiano Island. Earlier, as a film actor, Meg Tilly was widely known for her roles in "The Big Chill" and "Agnes of God"--for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1986, as well as an Oscar nomination. In the second decade of the 21st century she returned to acting for television and films.

Nominated for the Sheila A. Egoff Prize, her young adult novel Porcupine (Tundra 2007) concerns a fatherless family that moves to a run-down grandparents' farm on the Prairies from Newfoundland after the twelve-year-old tomboy Jacqueline ("Jack") Cooper's father is killed in war-torn Afghanistan. Porcupine culminates in the daughter's realization that a family can be made in many different forms.

Tilly's first book Singing Songs (Dutton, 1994) was reissued in 2006. It concerns a young girl, Anna, trapped in a dysfunctional family. The revised edition contains a new foreword by Tilly reflecting on how the story came to be written. For information about her courageous and compelling novel Gemma (2006), see below. Both Singing Songs and Gemma are now described as novels for adults.

Tilly was born as Margaret Chan on February 14, 1960 in Long Beach, California. She has two sisters and grew up primarily in British Columbia, raised by her mother, a schoolteacher (maiden name Tilly) and her step-father, a Chinese-American businessman.

Until her screen debut in Alan Parker's Fame (1980) Tilly was primarily a dancer as a teenager, mainly with the Connecticut Ballet Company and the Throne Dance Theatre. Her best-known acting roles were in Body Snatchers (1993), The Two Jakes (1990), Valmont (1989), Agnes of God (1985), The Big Chill (1983), Psycho II (1983) and Fame (1980). Her marriages to film producer Tim Zinnemann and former Sony Pictures president John Calley both ended in divorce. She had two children with Zinnemann and also a son with British actor Colin Firth, who she did not marry.

In 2012, Meg Tilly moved to Toronto with her husband Don Calame, also an author of young adult fiction [See Don Calame entry], a move that facilitated her starring role in Global TV's show Bomb Girls. Tilly's return to acting was bolstered by her audacious acceptance of the role of Martha in Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for a Victoria production. It was a rocky, difficult transition for someone accustomed to acting for a camera, but she persevered and subsequently played Madelaine 2 in Tarragon Theatre's production of The Real World?

Coincidentally Meg Tilly's third novel for young readers, A Taste of Heaven (Penguin Puffin 2013), examines the price of celebrity as it affects a friendship between two young girls, one of whom has Hollywood connections that must be concealed. It's for ages 8-12.


Singing Songs, Dutton (Penguin Putnam, 1994; reissued by Syren Book Co. October 2006)

Gemma (Syren Book Company, 2006)

Porcupine (Tundra, 2007).

First Time (Orca 2008)

A Taste of Heaven (Puffin 2013) 978-0-14-318249-8 $12.99

[BCBW 2013] "Fiction" "Kidlit" "Galiano"