Born May 25, 1935, on a farm west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, William (Bill) Patrick Kinsella was the son of a contractor, John Matthew, and a printer, Olive Mary (nee Elliot). The fact that Kinsella did not attend school until he was ten years old is characteristic of a lifelong delay in getting formal education. Kinsella did not start college until he was thirty-five years old. During his early years he worked at a variety of jobs and discovered that he had a gift for writing. At the age of seventeen, he published his first short story but had difficulty getting other stories published. Over the next twenty years, he wrote as many as fifty stories. Although they remained unpublished, the quantity of his output testifies to the ease with which he could write. In 1974 he completed a B.A. in creative writing at University of Victoria and immediately enrolled in the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Two years later he not only earned an M.F.A. but also, during his first year, published Dance Me Outside, a collection of short stories about the Cree Nation in Canada. The tribe became one of two major subjects around which Kinsella’s fiction revolves. The other is baseball. In 1982, Kinsella published Shoeless Joe, his first novel and the first of many tales in which Kinsella indulged his love for baseball. The favorable critical response to both volumes launched Kinsella’s writing career. In 1983 he retired from his university job to pursue writing full time.
Kinsella has been married four times. At twenty-two, he married Myrna Salls on December 28, 1957. The marriage ended in divorce six years later. On September 10, 1965, he married Mildred Irene Clay. The marriage ended in 1978, when he met and married writer Ann Ilene Knight. Over nearly twenty years, the two collaborated on several writing projects, including two books of...
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