Charalee Graydon Profile

Photo by Dani Mandrágora   

Photo by Dani Mandrágora


Charalee Graydon (Prairies & Wadham College 1982) is a freelance journalist living between Montpellier, France, and Vinaros, Spain.  She is the author of numerous publications in the areas of crime and punishment and environmental law, and has recently released a book, The Judgement Game.  She has held academic positions in England, New Zealand and Canada.  She holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and English from the University of Alberta, a JD in Law from the University of Alberta, a BCL in Law from the University of Oxford, and a Diploma in Freelance and Feature Writing from the London School of Journalism.

Rhodes Project: What is your favorite thing to do in Montpellier?

Charalee Graydon:  The literary and arts events in Montpellier are phenomenal.   Every Friday during the summer there is an event called Les Estivales, where you can sample wines and foods from southern France.  It is my favorite way to spend a Friday evening.

Rhodes Project: What are you working on now?

Charalee Graydon:  Most recently, I published a book called The Judgement Game.  It will be released in September.  It’s an interactive book of literary fiction, where people read a series of vignettes about crimes and offences and provide their responses and punishment.  I call it `the modern literature of crime and punishment.’

Rhodes Project: What are you hoping the reader will learn through this specific type of literary experience?

Charalee Graydon:   I provide questions with elements of law, psychology and sociology.  It is a double journey; you examine the people you’re reading about in the fictitious country I have created and you look at yourself and your responses to define “This is who I am.” The reader is making a quest for the ´self´ within the `mystery of consciousness´.

Rhodes Project: How do you enjoy the freedom or lifestyle of being a freelance journalist in comparison to some of your past jobs in the legal and academic sectors?

Charalee Graydon: It allows me to make choices about what I want to write, such as my present writing about art, law and literature. I also enjoy being able to write articles in the language of the country where I’m living. This is a challenge and wasn’t something I was able to do when I was a lawyer and academic.

Rhodes Project: What motivates you professionally and why?

Charalee Graydon:  Although I can never achieve perfection, my aim is to do the best I can in what I do.

Rhodes Project: What most surprised you about your experience at Oxford?

Charalee Graydon:  Trying to balance a plate of appetizers, a glass of sherry and talk with Oxford professors and students about world issues and our lives. More seriously, I enjoyed my Oxford experience and the biggest surprise was the difference in the style of learning in Oxford.

Rhodes Project: You clearly have a love for travel.  How has living in such different places affected your outlook on life?

Charalee Graydon:  It has opened my mind to accept different people and their ideas and to be less judgmental.  It has been a valuable lesson to learn how little people know about the Rhodes scholarship. I learnt not to attempt to define myself with the scholarship but as who I am and what I can bring to the area where I am living.

Rhodes Project: Can you tell me about a memorable journey you have been on, either physical or emotional?

Charalee Graydon:  I had a memorable experience the first time I visited Spain. Not only was I overwhelmed by the history and culture of a wonderful county, I happened to be in Madrid at the time of the train bombing in 2004.  I had spent my day with a friend at the El Prado museum.  When we returned to my host’s home, we learnt of the train bombing that had taken place that morning.  I had no knowledge of the Spanish language so was unable to participate in the family discussion about what had happened.  I couldn’t understand the language or the news on the television.  The best I could do was to find a computer and look on the Internet for information. This was a very humbling experience.

Rhodes Project: If you could go back and do it all again, knowing what you do now, would you do anything differently?

Charalee Graydon:  I would have done two things differently.  I would have followed suggestions that I complete a PhD in English.  I didn’t think I would get a job as an English professor so decided to study law instead.  The other thing would be to have continued my academic career rather than switching back and forth between academia and legal practice.

Rhodes Project: Do you have any role models?

Charalee Graydon:  Pierre Trudeau was a role model of mine as he had a vision about making Canada a united and bilingual country.  As a young woman in western Canada, I found that both my role model and I often met challenge.

Rhodes Project: Is there anything that consistently frustrates you?

Charalee Graydon:  People who are not open-minded.

Rhodes Project: You’re stranded on a desert island and you’re allowed one book and one record.  Which ones to do you take?

Charalee Graydon:  I would take the book I’m reading right now.  It’s Paulo Coelho’s Le Pèlerin de Compostelle, which is about his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.  The book will help me with my prayer to be rescued and because the book is in French it will keep me busy until I am rescued. The record I would take is the Beatles, Rubber Soul, the first record my father bought me.

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