Kevin Major Introduction

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Kevin Major 1949–

Canadian novelist and editor.

With his first two novels, Hold Fast and Far from Shore, Major emerged as a highly regarded novelist for young adults. His use of local color, the dialect and way of life in Newfoundland, and his depiction of the often confusing state of life between childhood and adulthood are considered particularly noteworthy.

Hold Fast describes the struggles of an unsure young man who faces changes in his life and must make some important decisions. This allows Major to explore the conflict between "big city" values and those of the isolated "outport" culture of Newfoundland. The novel won immediate acclaim, including the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children award and the Canada Council Award for Children's Literature, both in 1979.

Although Major's second novel, Far from Shore, met with less enthusiastic response, it was generally well regarded, winning the Canadian Young Adult Book Award in 1980. More experimental than his first book, Far from Shore depicts a family disrupted by unemployment and rivalry and explores the role of economic determinism versus personal reponsibility in shaping one's life. In both works, Major displays keen awareness of the concerns of young adults and the ability to communicate the struggles of adolescence.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 97-100 and Something about the Author, Vol. 32.)