Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Big Why by Michael Winter

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The Big Why by Michael Winter

House of Anansi Press, 2004

The Big Why is both Michael Winter's dazzling reinvention of the historical novel and a passionate and witty faux memoir of Rockwell Kent, the famous illustrator of Moby Dick.

Focusing on the year Kent and his family spent in Brigus, Newfoundland on the eve of the First World War, Winter offers up the private emotions of a man whose outer ambitions betray his inner feelings. Kent vows to be faithful to his wife, to live close to the sea, and document, through paintings and woodcuts, a picturesque land and society. But he also desires everything, including the young woman who cares for their children. His friend, the explorer Bob Bartlett, explains how the artist's beliefs and way of life run drastically against those of this small seafaring community.

Funny, surprising, and thoroughly honest about our desires and contradictions, The Big Why bares all: it is about a man who was not fully understood or accepted in the time and place in which he lived. And it is about how we all try to find our place in the world, to gain wisdom, but in the end must humbly accept the transcendent fallout of our actions.

Finally, the historical novel Gabriel English works on in Michael Winter's This All Happened is complete!

Michael Winter was born in England and grew up in Newfoundland. He is the author of The Big Why which won the Drummer General's Award and was nominated for Ontario's Trillium Book Award and the Atlantic Book Awards Thomas Head Raddall Fiction Prize and This All Happened which won the Winterset Award and was nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. He has published two short-story collections, Creaking in Their Skins and One Last Good Look. He now divides his time between St. John's and Toronto.