We also chat with my pal Jennifer Gillies, Artistic Director of the GritLit Readers & Writers’ Festival. Obviously, this year’s festival was cancelled in its usual form, but they continue to bring some programming and workshops to you online, so check out what she’s got to say, too. Cheers!
Captain of Kinnoull Hill
It’s another greenhouse-hot day in Hamilton, Ontario. Hope you’re enjoying your summer so far, folks.
On a personal note, it’s looking like an interesting time for yours truly. I am about 50 pages of edit away from beta readers, a few weeks away from starting to narrate the audiobook of The Captain of Kinnoull Hill, and I’ve already started my first gig as a fiction editor. On top of that I’m helping to organize the Hamilton Literary Awards for 2019. It’s all pretty great. Now, if only it paid well enough for me to quit this day job.
My book isn’t a bestseller. Hell, at best, it’s a ‘seller.’ According to the pros in Episode 19 of GET LIT, I’m doing absolutely fine, but the numbers are modest.
What makes me happy, though, is that The Captain of Kinnoull Hill seems to have some legs. I still receive royalty cheques, however small. Apparently, I also still get reviews! The University of Toronto Quarterly recently published a wonderful review and I couldn’t be happier. The issue was supposed to come out last summer but for reasons I don’t know about, it was delayed until last week. Works for me.
As the Quarterly is not free, there’s no point posting a link, but author Brandon McFarlane has given me permission to cut and paste the text, as it’s part of a larger article on Emergent Fiction (trust me, it’s a copyright thing, and I’m in the clear). So read on, and if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, you can do so here.
“How do you help an aging hipster recover from decades of partying, snobbery, arrogance, and narcissism? In Jamie Tennant’s The Captain of Kinnoull Hill, the solution is to send the hipster to Scotland to hang out with a thousand-year-old goblin. Dennis Duckworth is a veteran of Chicago’s Wicker Park – the pre-eminent hipster district in 1990s America.
He owns an indie music label that is raking in cash due the success of The Random, an unexpected hit maker that has attracted the attention of Universal Music. Dennis is ready to sell out after years of plumping acclaimed, but commercially unviable, music. We meet Dennis in a Times Square pornographic booth as he tries to sneak in a quick, cheap nap. But a series of unfortunate events leaves Dennis beaten and passed out in Scotland. Stuck there with no cash, he has to save the deal with Universal despite alienating his staff, hiding his misadventure, and hating himself. Even though he is a misanthrope, he is also unexpectedly charming; Dennis befriends a pub owner (Margaret), two heritage workers, and
Eddie the Red Cap (goblin).
The Captain of Kinnoull Hill is a comedy about integrating two curmudgeons into society. Dennis is an amalgamation of everything people hate about hipster culture and his high-hipster tastes have left him isolated. Eddie the Red Cap is a recovering goblin; after years of murdering random victims and mopping up their blood with his cap, he is ready to
forfeit his magical powers and become a normal person. Dennis battles an overwhelming compulsion for condescension and narcissism, and Eddie, well, fights an instinctual craving for blood. Through a shared love of high culture, the two become fast friends and help one another
become sincere, caring humans. They also collaborate to rebuild the town’s crumbling castle – a tourist attraction vital to the economy – and to save Margaret’s pub that is threatened by her landlord McKee, who bullies the entire town with his posse of punks.
The Captain of Kinnoull Hill might be labelled a magical comedy. It combines self-loathing and dark humour with the ridiculous plot twists of classic comedy; Dennis’s drug abuse and Eddie’s magic integrate the archetypal twists and turns of Shakespearean comedy into a contemporary story. The challenges facing the characters are arbitrary due to the novel’s comedic structure; readers know that all of the problems will be solved, and happiness will reign. The strategy places the emphasis on witticisms and tomfoolery. Each scene becomes intrinsically rewarding because the plot is, more or less, irrelevant; Tennant transforms every moment into an opportunity for laughs. The Captain of Kinnoull Hill is an exceptional comedy due to its risk taking and novel application of contemporary and centuries-old comedy staples.”
Remember, if you’re one of those people who goes into a bookstore to browse, but then brags about how you’re going to go home and order those books on Amazon because they’re cheaper there…? You’re kind of a jerk. Santa will bring you a lump of coal, which Krampus will then put into a sock in order to beat you with it. You will deserve every moment. Support authors, support bookstores!
(Also, because authors need to put in promo time once in a while – my own Captain of Kinnoull Hill makes a fine gift).
But most of all, Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas and the like. Today’s program features Ottawa-based author Paul Carlucci. We talk about his collection of interconnected short stories, The High Rise in Fort Fierce, available via Goose Lane. Enjoy 😀
Quick time-sensitive announcement: if you’re in the Toronto area tonight and are in the mood for a reading, I will be participating in the Pivot Reading series tonight, Oct 11. I’m reading with Djamila Ibrahim and Paul Vermeersch, and you can find more info here! I will read from The Captain of Kinnoull Hill (as always) but may do my first, very brief reading from the novel in progress.
Today’s show features award-winning author and poet (and member of the Order of Canada) Dionne Brand. We talk about her two – yes, two – new books, Theory (a novel) and The Blue Clerk (poetry, recently nominated for the GG). I was a little intimidated by this one, for sure…but she was amazing and I think you’ll enjoy our conversation. Cheers!
A lovely article in the McMaster Daily News to share with you, talking about Captain of Kinnoull Hill and my Hamilton Arts Award – check it out here!
Today’s show features poet Angela Hibbs, discussing her recent collection Control Suppress Delete. First, however, we talk with poet and editor Jim Johnstone about his recent anthology entitled The New Wave. It’s an incredible collection, I highly recommend you pick it up.
The lifespan of a novel is still a mysterious thing to me. The little bumps that come along when someone goes on the CBC and mentions your work (thanks, Terra Lightfoot), or when some fella says something on a Facebook page, or when you get shortlisted for awards. This weekend I’ll be doing my part to sell one or two by traveling to Windsor, ON for a reading at Biblioasis. A great chance to meet up with my publisher/editor Aimee at Palimpsest too. Details below the show link!
Excited to announce that I’ve been nominated in the Writing category for a City of Hamilton Arts Award, along with my emerging artist nominee Ben Robinson (who was my guest on E63). That would be exciting in and of itself, but…okay…
I was nominated last year along with something like eight other writers. I lost to Bernadette Rule, which, yes, damn straight that’s as it should have been! I guess that all of the city’s authors are feeling exhausted though, because this year I’m the only nominee. Which means, so long as I qualify…I win? Yay me?
I certainly win – as do you – with this week’s show (ugh that was an awful segue). First, we have a quick book recommendation from next week’s guest Michael Redhill. After that, our feature interview is with Kathleen Winter, whose Lost in September was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. She’ll be at GritLit on April 14, so come out! In the meantime, hope you enjoy our conversation.
I want to take this moment to say I’m super excited about my own book-related things at the moment. First of all, I have finally been reviewed! The Captain of Kinnoull Hill was reviewed by the excellent Mark Sampson in the newest issue of Hamilton Arts and Letters. READ THE REVIEW HERE!!!
I also want to thank my new best friends at the Ontario Arts Council, as well as my publisher Palimpsest Press, for the Recommender’s Grant I just received. It’s my first-ever arts grant. Not sure if that makes me part of a club but it sure helps pay the bills and allows me more time to write, which is the point!
Today on the show, poet Domenico Capilongo talks about his latest, Send, out with Guernica Editions. We also hear Pasha Malla read from Fugue States, while my pal Olga Kwak reviews the latest from Jan Wong, Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy and China. Hope you enjoy!
Hi folks! I’m back, I’m over the jet lag, I’m marginally together again. Just in time for our first anniversary! GET LIT E01 aired on my birthday, 2016. Our guest was the ever-generous and incredibly talented Gary Barwin. I had no idea the show would be sustainable, but here we are, a year later with no signs of stopping.
Speaking of Gary, I’m humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as him, let alone nominated alongside him, but…The Captain of Kinnoull Hill is a finalist for Best Fiction at the Hamilton Arts Council’s Literary Awards. The event happens Monday, November 27, 7 pm, at Theatre Aquarius’ Norman and Louise Haac Studio Theatre, in the Dofasco Centre for the Arts.
On this show we’re joined by Noelle Allen of Wolsak and Wynn, who is also a member of the Hamilton Arts Council’s Literary Advisory Committee and one of the event organizers. Also listen in as Hamilton Review of Books Editor-in-Chief Dana Hansen joins us to review Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Hope you enjoy!