W.P. Kinsella, Dead at 81

W.P. KinsellaW.P. Kinsella was 81. He was the author best known for his 1982 novel Shoeless Joe, the source material for the 1989 film Field of Dreams.

As a young baseball fan, I read The Thrill of the Grass and was smitten.

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Good to see you mention Thrill of the Grass. As much fame as he received for Shoeless Joe, I always thought the story collection Thrill of the Grass was a true gem, and it was my favourite of all his books. The title story, the Cubs manager trying to decide whether to believe dreams about the world coming to an end if his team wins the pennant, the baseball fan given the opportunity to bring Thurman Munson back to life by changing places with him ... it was filled with great stories.

Kinsella's stories made a huge impact on me. I started reading him at an age when I had grown out of kids books and young adult. Most of what I read were his baseball stories, but in those stories he wrote about other writers, and that was my introduction to the writing that shaped my reading habits in the coming years. I ended up dedicating my professional life to books as an editor and publisher, a path I can link directly to Kinsella's work. I only met him once, back when he was selecting the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award shortlists and one of my books was on the list. I had a notion to tell him that he played a role in me being there that day, but I let the moment pass. I wish I'd given in to that notion.

September 19, 2016 @ 9:51 AM


The first W.P. Kinsella book I read was The Iowa Baseball Confederacy which I found to be as captivating as it was strange. I love reading Kinsella's stories because they elevate the game of baseball to a higher, spiritual place where time truth and legend regularily blend together as a matter of course. Magical!

I hope W.P. enjoys what lies beyond the outfield fence.


September 20, 2016 @ 3:25 PM


@ Derek

I loved that book. I was just thinking about it a week or two ago when I read a story about a couple of teams in Edmonton that were trying to set a record for the world's longest baseball game.

I believe film rights were once sold to that book but the movie never got made. (Not unusual -- I've sold film rights to several books and a small percentage actually get made.) It would have been a tough film to pull off, and would have lost a lot of the magic of the book.

I have a signed first edition at home. I might reread it this weekend.

September 20, 2016 @ 5:06 PM

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