From the Archives: boYs by Kathleen Winter

March 10, 2015

At ALU HQ we're getting ready for next week's Canada Reads debates. We'll have some great book lists of indie titles to keep you reading long after a winner has been announced but in the meantime we've been reminiscing about previous year's participants, including Kathleen Winter, whose novel, Annabel, was defended by actress Sarah Gadon just last year. Winter has had an excellent year since then with two new titles released, The Freedom in American Songs and Boundless. If you're a Kathleen Winter fan and are looking for something new to read, reminisce with us as we read her first short story collection, boYs, published by Biblioasis in 2007.

See more details below

fromthearchive_Updated

 

At ALU HQ we're getting ready for next week's Canada Reads debates. We'll have some great book lists of indie titles to keep you reading long after a winner has been announced but in the meantime we've been reminiscing about previous year's participants, including Kathleen Winter, whose novel, Annabel, was defended by actress Sarah Gadon just last year. Winter has had an excellent year since then with two new titles released, The Freedom in American Songs and Boundless. If you're a Kathleen Winter fan and are looking for something new to read, reminisce with us as we read her first short story collection, boYs, published by Biblioasis in 2007.

* * *

Boys

When John Metcalf and Leon Rooke chose Kathleen Winter's debut collection of short stories boYs for the 2007 Metcalf-Rooke they had this to say:

"We have awarded the 2006 Metcalf-Rooke Award to the stories of Kathleen Winter. The stories delighted us for various reasons. They have a clarity and lucidity of thought and language which is rare. The offer a portrait of small-town and rural Newfoundland life in a mixture of stories and sketches and in language electric. We enjoyed the gritty detail in which all the stories were grounded; we enjoyed her quirky eye; and we revelled in the humour which lights up even the grimmest of her stories."

At the time of publication, the author had previously published a novella Where is Mario (Xx Press, 1987) and two books of creative non-fiction, The Road Along the Shore (Killick, 1991) and The Necklace of Occasional Dreams (Killick, 1996), and would go on to publish Annabel, a critical hit internationally and one of the bestselling Canadian novels of the last decade. Her first book after more than a decade's hiatus, boYs contained stories about the foibles of courtship, the hunger of women's desire, and the insanity and seeming obliviousness of men and boys. It was a story debut that arrived fully formed, already bearing the hallmark voice for which Winter has gained distinction: wry, knowing, passionate, lyrical, quirky, and bittersweet, a voice very much in evidence in her short fiction follow up with Biblioasis, The Freedom in American Songs.

In fall 2014, Biblioasis published The Freedom in American Songs simultaneously to the release of Winter's new non-fiction collection Boundless, published by Anansi and a finalist for the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-Fiction. For The Freedom in American Songs, Winter teamed up again with Biblioasis fiction editor John Metcalf to bring together the best of her stories from recent years and decades past, including the opening suite of "Marianne Stories," wonder-filled pastorals that feature the misadventures of a young woman who moves to rural Newfoundland, also some of the earliest stories that Winter had written. Winter had this to say about their inclusion:

"My editor, John Metcalf, said the early stories were visionary, and they come from a time in an author’s life when she sees things in a holy and illuminated way. He says this time is transitory, and he insisted the work be refined and saved. I agree with him that the power of place in these stories has something pure and magnificent about it, and I’m glad he helped me edit and perfect the Marianne stories."

boYs, and the subsequent success of Annabel, helped bring this holy, illuminating, lyrical, and charming voice to the Canadian public, one that has helped enriched Canadian literature. And with the two new books of Winter's just released this past fall, the richness grows.


Discuss


comments powered by Disqus