Two Edmonton writers score publishing deals on the same day

GigCity Edmonton Michael HingstonThe date 12/12/12 was supposed to be a day of luck or a day of doom, depending on which numerologists you decided to talk to.

For the Edmonton literary community, it was a day of celebration. On that day, two local writers, Michael Hingston and Thea Bowering, were offered publishing deals for their first books. For one local writer to be offered their first publishing deal is relatively rare, but for two to get offers on the same day is unparalleled.

“I’m thrilled. And I’ve been soaking in nice feelings all day, from a lot of unexpected corners. It’s been really nice,” says Hingston (above), who is also the books columnist for the Edmonton Journal. “But I’ve still got a lot of work in the near future to get the book into fighting shape, so I don’t feel like I’ve earned my celebration just yet. We’ll see where I’m at by the time the snow melts.”

Hingston’s novel, his first, is tentatively titled “The Dilettantes” and will be published by Freehand Press of Calgary. The novel is a comedy set at the student newspaper for Simon University (Hingston’s alma mater). Publication date is expected to be September 2013.

“We are really excited about it,” says Kesley Attard, Managing Editor for Freehand. “We were drawn to it because it’s irreverent and a whole lot of fun, and because the story is told so well. It’s definitely the work of a writer with a very bright future.”

Thea Bowering, known to many who frequent the Empress because she works as a bartender there, will have her first book of short stories published by Edmonton’s own Newest Press.

“I was very excited to find out NeWest Press wanted my stories,” she says. “They are a small press that really supports local and new writers; but also, they have been around for over 30 years and have published some of my favourite Canadian authors: Aritha van Herk, Suzette Mayr, Robert Kroetsch and many others I respect. It feels great to be in the same company as these writers.”

Bowering, who also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature, says her book of short stories have a connected theme. “There is an overall theme of tragedy that happens on a small scale – of love as something that, like an ideal city, is lost, intangible, always only potential,” she says. “The stories are also connected through variations of a certain type of character, an insatiable walker who rejects the routes set out for her by urban planners and mainstream culture, choosing instead to wander alleys, narrow side-streets, and to inhabit the seedy locales of the metropolis, small music venues, the kitchens of pubs, alienating house parties, highway motel rooms and divey cafes. She acts as a kind of critical witness to civic culture.”

Publication date for Bowering’s book has not be set but possibly Fall 2013 or Spring 2014.