William Patrick Kinsella was born on May 25, 1935, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the son of John Matthew, a contractor, and Olive Mary, a printer. Kinsella’s father was a semiprofessional baseball player who taught his son to love the game at an early age, establishing a fascination with the American pastime that would define the Canadian author’s reputation as a writer. Kinsella, an only child, grew up in almost total isolation on a farm in northern Alberta. He was home-schooled until the fifth grade and began writing stories about fictional characters that doubled as his friends.
Before embarking on a career as a writer, Kinsella worked as a government clerk, claims investigator, account executive, and restaurant owner. At the age of thirty-five, he began attending the University of Victoria, where he went on to receive his B.A. in creative writing. From 1974 to 1976, he worked as a taxicab driver in Victoria. In 1976, he was accepted to study at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, and he received his M.F.A. from the university in 1978. While enrolled in the Writers’ Workshop, Kinsella was an instructor at the University of Iowa. After finishing up there, he accepted a job as an assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Calgary, and he stayed there from 1978 to 1983.
Kinsella sold his first pieces of writing regularly to magazines. In 1977, a collection of stories, Dance Me Outside, was published by Oberon Press in Ottawa, Ontario. Scars was published in 1978, and Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa, a short-story collection, followed in 1980. Born Indian, the collection that includes “Fiona the First” (which won honorable mention in the annual series Best American Short Stories, 1980), appeared in 1981, and Shoeless Joe, a 1982 novel based on the title story from Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa, was the first of Kinsella’s books published in the United States....
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