Welcome to The Interruption, a 49th Shelf–Books on the Radio collaboration in which I interview Canadian writers about the surprising things that inform, inspire, and even interrupt their creative process.
The Interruption is generously sponsored by The UBC Creative Writing Program, celebrating 50 years of excellence in creative writing. Programs include undergraduate minor and major degrees, Masters of Fine Arts in Vancouver or by distance education from anywhere in the world! For more information visit creativewriting.ubc.ca.
Today, I chat with Michael Winter, whose novels (including This All Happened, The Big Why, The Architects Were Here, and The Death of Donna Whalen) have variously won the Writers’ Trust Notable Author Award and been longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Michael has now ventured out of fiction to write Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead, which as its jacket copy notes, is "part unconventional history, part memoir-travelogue, part philosophical inquiry." It documents Michael's journey to retrace the steps of young Newfoundlanders who joined a legendary regiment that would fight in WWI, a journey he undertook to better understand how their ordeal still touches us in the present. Many of these young men would die at Beaumont-Hamel during the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.
The first podcast is of me and Michael chatting in a coffeehouse (please excuse the din—the interview happened here because Michael's hotel was undergoing construction). The second is of Michael reading from Into the Blizzard.