Gillespie, Curtis 1960-
Gillespie, Curtis 1960-
PERSONAL: Born 1960, in Canada; married; wife's name, Cathy; children: Jessica, Grace. Education: University of St. Andrews, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Carpentry, golf, travel, exercise, music, cooking, soccer.
ADDRESSES: Home—Edmondton, Alberta, Canada. Office—Grant MacEwan College, P.O. Box 1796, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2P2, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Worker for Catholic Social Services; teacher of fiction and nonfiction writing at Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and Banff Centre for the Arts.
AWARDS, HONORS: Henry Kreisel Award for Best First Book, Writer's Guild of Alberta, 1998, for The Progress of an Object in Motion; Danuta Gleed Literary Award for Short Fiction, Writer's Union of Canada, 1998; Gold Medal, Western Magazine Awards, 1999, for "The Transformer"; Silver Medal, National Magazine Awards, 1999, for "In Rod They Trust," and 2000, for "Last Exit"; Gold Medal, National Magazine Awards, 1999, for "Ground Zero."
The Progress of an Object in Motion (fiction), Coteau Books (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1997.
Someone like That: Life Stories (biography), Rowan Books (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 2000.
Playing Through: A Year of Life and Links along the Scottish Coast (memoir), Crown (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals.
SIDELIGHTS: Curtis Gillespie's book Playing Through: A Year of Life and Links along the Scottish Coast chronicles the author's year of doing "what every introspective golfer dreams of doing," explained Bill Ott in Booklist. Gillespie takes up residence in a small village on the eastern coast of Scotland, and spends a year playing on some of the legendary golf courses in that country. A Canadian whose ancestors were Scottish, the author had previously lived in Scotland as a student at St. Andrew's University. He had always hoped to return there to play golf with his father, who also loved the game, but the older man died before the two could ever make the trip. Instead, Gillespie went with his wife and daughter, and the young family's integration into village life is just one side of the multifaceted book. The little town's cast of unusual characters is drawn in detail, as are many blissful rounds of golf.
Though his father was not there physically, Gillespie thought of him frequently, using the golfing sojourn as a means of reconnecting with his stern, often distant parent. There are "a few genuinely moving passages in which Gillespie conveys the joy and grief of family passages poignantly and honestly, neither shortchanging his emotions nor wallowing in them," noted Shane McCune in a Toronto Globe & Mail review. Ott called Playing Through "a moving personal story and a treat for armchair golfers and travelers." Others were somewhat more critical; Ian Dunlop, writing for the Spectator, found the author's description of life at times too prosaic, adding that this is "a pity, because he has done his research into the history of the area, read the right books, has a good ear for the banter of some ancient golfers he befriended and played with, and he clearly loved the town and its courses."
Los Angeles Times reviewer Christopher Reynolds found Gillespie's meditations on his father to be one of the book's strongest points, however. Referring to the author's need to reconcile his feelings about his father, Reynolds wrote: "This is not one of those artificial quests for meaning that travel writers sometimes stitch onto their stories to give them the appearance of depth. This is a mournful, grateful, illuminating, unabashedly sentimental reexamination that brings the senior Gillespie into clear view." Chicago Tribune writer June Sawyers called Playing Through a "lovely homage" to family ties and to the bond that unites true lovers of golf.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Gillespie, Curtis, Playing Through: A Year of Life and Links along the Scottish Coast, Crown (New York, NY), 2002.
Alberta Report, August 31, 1998, "Creative Success Story," p. 29.
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Bill Ott, review of Playing Through: A Year of Life and Links along the Scottish Coast, p. 1590.
Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2004, June Sawyers, review of Playing Through, p. 14.
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), Shane McCune, review of Playing Through, p. 1.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of Playing Through, p. 209.
Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2004, Christopher Reynolds, review of Playing Through, p. L5.
National Post, September 7, 2002, Curtis Gillespie, "The Lasting Link," p. SP1.
Publishers Weekly, March 29, 2004, review of Playing Through, p. 50.
Spectator, July 27, 2002, Ian Dunlop, review of Playing Through, p. 40.
Curtis Gillespie's Home Page, http:/members.shaw.ca/curtis.cathy (February 8, 2005).
Random House of Canada Web site, http://www.randomhouse.ca/ (February 8, 2005), interview with Gillespie.