Monday, September 17, 2007

Crown Shyness

Edmonton writer Curtis Gillespie is known for his fine journalism, nominated many times for National Magazine Awards. His 2002 memoir of golf, family and Scotland, Playing Through is a perennial favourite here (and boasts back cover blurbs from Alistair MacLeod and Arnold Palmer!). His 1997 short story collection, The Progress of an Object in Motion won several major awards.

But Gillespie suffers a bit of the Edmonton effect, wherein Edmontonians don't realize the fabulousness of the folks right here in our midst, coupled with the Torontopian mindset out east that Edmonton produces bitumen, not culture. Never mind the real difficulties of getting a novel, and a novel about contemporary Alberta, published. Gillespie has already beaten the odds then, with today's launch of his first novel, Crown Shyness.

An Alberta story written by an Albertan and published by an Albertan publisher. Simply for jingoistic, regional reasons we should run out and buy the book! Happily, Crown Shyness is also an excellent novel, with interesting thoughts about Alberta politics and society plus a plot that chugs along nicely. The first review I have seen, a rave by Jay Smith in Vue Magazine [careful - this issue of Vue is their annual "Sex in the City" issue!] puts it well:
"Tackling the heart of Albertan identity, how we can be urban socialists who get along grandly with rural rednecks until gods, guns or homos enter the conversation, how we can have our feet planted in so many different social locations, Crown Shyness is a book that Albertans should read in order to feel the bliss of being finally understood, and that others should read in order to understand us."
Join Curtis Gillespie at the launch for Crown Shyness, tonight (Monday, September 17) @ 7:30 p.m. at the Nina Haggerty Centre of the Arts, 9704 111th Ave [close to Commonwealth Stadium].


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