Going the Distance : The Life and Works of W.P. Kinsella

Going the Distance: The Life and Works of W.P. Kinsella

William Steele
$34.95 Regular price


This frank and authoritative biography explores the life and often controversial work of W.P. Kinsella, the author who penned iconic lines such as “If you build it, he will come.” Kinsella’s work was thrust into the limelight when, in the spring of 1989, his novel Shoeless Joe was turned into the international blockbuster Field of Dreams.

With the success of Shoeless Joe, Kinsella’s other works began to gain more attention as well, including a popular series of short stories narrated by a young Cree, Silas Ermineskin. Although many readers praised the stories for their humour and biting social commentary, Kinsella’s success reignited criticism of his appropriation of Indigenous voices for his own benefit, and of what some claimed was overt racism. For Kinsella, this censure was mitigated by the commercial success of the Silas Ermineskin stories. After scraping by as a taxi driver and restaurant owner, and later as a writing instructor, Kinsella took great satisfaction in being able to make a living from writing alone.

Achievement in his professional life was tempered by chaos in his personal life, including health problems, failed marriages and a tumultuous romantic relationship with writer Evelyn Lau that resulted in a highly public libel lawsuit. When long-term kidney issues resurfaced causing acute pain, Kinsella made his final arrangements. Never one to shy away from controversy, he made it clear to his agent that his decision to end his life by physician-assisted suicide must be mentioned in the press release following his death.

Though friends and family would remember him as stubborn, complicated, curmudgeonly, honest, loyal and a host of other adjectives, Kinsella answered, “I’m a story teller [and] my greatest satisfaction comes from leaving [while] making people laugh and also leaving them with a tear in the corner of their eye.”

Having been granted full access to Kinsella’s personal diaries, correspondence and unpublished notes, and with hours of personal interviews with Kinsella, his friends and his family, biographer William Steele offers insight into Kinsella’s personal life while balancing it with the critical analysis and commentary his fiction has inspired.


 

“W.P. KINSELLA was a half-American, half-Canadian author who captured the imagination of both countries. When I worked with him, I was struck by his fertile imagination, work ethic, obsessive desire to succeed, and cantankerousness. William Steele captures all of that and much more in this honest, enjoyable biography.”


“William Steele’s narrative draws us into the saga of a solitary boy growing up on the windswept plains of Alberta—‘six hundred miles from anywhere’—and driven by his desire to become a writer. […] Steele’s balanced and nuanced biography is an inspiring account of the evolution of a writer.”


“Until now, W.P. Kinsella’s life story has seemed as mysterious as that voice wafting over an Iowa cornfield. The man who wrote so much magic baseball fiction has himself remained a mystery. William Steele’s biography of Kinsella truly goes the distance in carefully detailing the interesting life of a baseball-writing genius.”


“An authoritative and definitive biography with the inimitable and irascible voice of Kinsella at its core, Going the Distance is the remarkable story of a writing life.”


“It had been a long and hard journey of a brave, determined author. Kinsella had joined two elements in the American myth, baseball and the belief that if you create something worthwhile, the world will come to your door—or baseball field. This biography details the journey from an isolated farm in Alberta to the pinnacle of success.” 


Douglas & McIntyre
ISBN: 9781771621946
Hardback
6.0 in x 9.0 in - 304 pp
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
BISAC Subject(s):: BIO007000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary,BIO002000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural Heritage,BIO016000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Sports 
:

Description


This frank and authoritative biography explores the life and often controversial work of W.P. Kinsella, the author who penned iconic lines such as “If you build it, he will come.” Kinsella’s work was thrust into the limelight when, in the spring of 1989, his novel Shoeless Joe was turned into the international blockbuster Field of Dreams.

With the success of Shoeless Joe, Kinsella’s other works began to gain more attention as well, including a popular series of short stories narrated by a young Cree, Silas Ermineskin. Although many readers praised the stories for their humour and biting social commentary, Kinsella’s success reignited criticism of his appropriation of Indigenous voices for his own benefit, and of what some claimed was overt racism. For Kinsella, this censure was mitigated by the commercial success of the Silas Ermineskin stories. After scraping by as a taxi driver and restaurant owner, and later as a writing instructor, Kinsella took great satisfaction in being able to make a living from writing alone.

Achievement in his professional life was tempered by chaos in his personal life, including health problems, failed marriages and a tumultuous romantic relationship with writer Evelyn Lau that resulted in a highly public libel lawsuit. When long-term kidney issues resurfaced causing acute pain, Kinsella made his final arrangements. Never one to shy away from controversy, he made it clear to his agent that his decision to end his life by physician-assisted suicide must be mentioned in the press release following his death.

Though friends and family would remember him as stubborn, complicated, curmudgeonly, honest, loyal and a host of other adjectives, Kinsella answered, “I’m a story teller [and] my greatest satisfaction comes from leaving [while] making people laugh and also leaving them with a tear in the corner of their eye.”

Having been granted full access to Kinsella’s personal diaries, correspondence and unpublished notes, and with hours of personal interviews with Kinsella, his friends and his family, biographer William Steele offers insight into Kinsella’s personal life while balancing it with the critical analysis and commentary his fiction has inspired.


 

“W.P. KINSELLA was a half-American, half-Canadian author who captured the imagination of both countries. When I worked with him, I was struck by his fertile imagination, work ethic, obsessive desire to succeed, and cantankerousness. William Steele captures all of that and much more in this honest, enjoyable biography.”


“William Steele’s narrative draws us into the saga of a solitary boy growing up on the windswept plains of Alberta—‘six hundred miles from anywhere’—and driven by his desire to become a writer. […] Steele’s balanced and nuanced biography is an inspiring account of the evolution of a writer.”


“Until now, W.P. Kinsella’s life story has seemed as mysterious as that voice wafting over an Iowa cornfield. The man who wrote so much magic baseball fiction has himself remained a mystery. William Steele’s biography of Kinsella truly goes the distance in carefully detailing the interesting life of a baseball-writing genius.”


“An authoritative and definitive biography with the inimitable and irascible voice of Kinsella at its core, Going the Distance is the remarkable story of a writing life.”


“It had been a long and hard journey of a brave, determined author. Kinsella had joined two elements in the American myth, baseball and the belief that if you create something worthwhile, the world will come to your door—or baseball field. This biography details the journey from an isolated farm in Alberta to the pinnacle of success.” 

Details


Douglas & McIntyre
ISBN: 9781771621946
Hardback
6.0 in x 9.0 in - 304 pp
Publication Date: 01/09/2018
BISAC Subject(s):: BIO007000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary,BIO002000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural Heritage,BIO016000-BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Sports 
: