Friday, October 05, 2007

Profile of Kathleen Winter in the St. John's Telegram

Just in case you were beginning to think that it was all Cold-cocked, all the time...

E-mail error brings good fortune print this article
Metcalf Rooke Award helps gain Winter new readers

Special to The Telegram

Local author Kathleen Winter is revelling in the events surrounding the national release of her latest book, all of which were never supposed to happen.

The St. John’s-based writer, and Telegram columnist, was recently named recipient of the 2007 Metcalf Rooke Award, which recognizes the work of new and up-and-coming Canadian writers.

Initially, Winter sent a manuscript of her most recent work “boYs”, a collection of fiction short stories, to John Metcalf, who she thought held the post of senior editor of the Porcupine’s Quill, an Ontario-based press.

“I actually sent it to the wrong publisher because he was always with the Porcupine’s Quill,” Winter explains from her home in Holyrood. “Unbeknownst to me he had left that and gone to Biblioasis.”

Nonetheless the manuscript finally reached Metcalf, who read it, contacted Winter and prompted her to enter it in Biblioasis’ competition.

“He called me right away and let me know that it had come at a time when he was accepting submissions with Leon Rooke for this award,” says Winter, who agreed to let it be a part of the competition.

The stories in her book, Winter explains, are “about how people relate to each other.

“There are a lot of men in the stories and most of the stories are seen through the eyes of women.”

Five of the stories were pulled from the vault, she says. “I wrote those when I was in my twenties.”

The remaining stories are a collection of her works from the past few years.

When she found out she had won, Winter was ecstatic that she would have the opportunity to expand her readership to a bigger audience.

With the award came a publishing contract with Biblioasis, who pressed 1,500 copies of “boYs” and provided her with a regional tour to promote the book.

She has already made stops at the Winnipeg International Writer’s Festival, the Eden Mills Writer’s Festival and in October, will be traveling to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, where she will officially be awarded the Metcalf Rooke Award.

She even plans to take her tour to her birthplace, a small town in Northeast England called Bill Quay.

Though she and her family moved to Newfoundland when she was only eight years old, one of Winter’s priorities is to share her writing with the places she has called home, such as England, but also Corner Brook, where she grew up, and St. John’s.

Now 47, she is finally realizing her “number one goal in life … to have readers.”

As is often the case with new publications, Winter realizes critics have the potential to determine a book’s success, but it doesn’t seem to worry her.

“It doesn’t make me nervous,” she says. “I’ve been seriously working on this material so I really believe in it. I can’t see how any review could really crush me at this point. I’m just too old for that,” she laughs.

The book’s official launch will take place in the Port Room of the Downtown Courtyard Marriott on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

On Oct. 7 she will also chat with readers and sign copies at Chapters on Kenmount Rd. from 2-4 p.m.

Winter is also planning to travel the island to share her book with others. Anyone interested in having her do a reading for any community group, school, library or book store café, can email her at

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