A-R International: Lee Gowan

Lee Gowan
Authors-Readers International

Lee Gowan is a Canadian novelist.

Gowan grew up on a farm near Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and studied at the University of British Columbia, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. Gowan is presently based in Toronto where he heads the creative writing program at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto.

At the 1996 Gemini Awards, Gowan was nominated for his screenplay Paris or Somewhere. In 2002 his novel Make Believe Love was nominated for the Trillium Award for Best Book in Ontario.

In 2006 his novel The Last Cowboy was published by Albin Michel in France as Jusqu’au bout du ciel.

Lee Gowan is the author of the novels Confession, The Last Cowboy, and Make Believe Love.  He also published the critically acclaimed story collection Going to Cuba, and wrote the award-winning screenplay for Paris or Somewhere.

Also, you may read about his multimedia story, My Father’s House, on his website. Here’s an excerpt:

My Father’s House is a multimedia story that explores impermanence. What else can we count on in this life but change?

On the other hand, the house I grew up in was the house my father lived in his entire life, so it represented permanence for him.

It goes without saying, all of the writing is mine. What use would it be to you? If you do have some use for it, please ask my permission before using.

The photos are mostly mine too, though I have borrowed a few from family (Ray Gowan, Jessi Gowan) and friends (Laura Murray and Ranjini George Philip) and from the public domain.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

~

I was the southern Saskatchewan sales rep for Fifth House when Lee Gowan published his first book, Going to Cuba. But it wasn’t until decades later that we actually met in person, and in Toronto … I had arranged to meet with author Ranjini George who has already been featured in this Authors-Readers International series. Ranjini had recently married Lee, so it was my great pleasure to be able to chat with both of them over coffee!

~

Confession

Eight years since I’ve seen my parents’ graves, and if I haven’t visited it’s a safe bet that neither has anyone else. Maybe a few of the curious, assuming that anyone is still curious about such things. Not a week goes by that I don’t think of them there, under their shared granite slab. They died a day apart, my mother the one day and my father the next, so one stone seemed appropriate and more cost-effective. Not that I paid. I just mean that it must have seemed more appropriate and cost-effective to the man who did pay for the pretty pink rock and the engraving and had them buried side by side. They’re within reach, but they never touch. How so like the world of the living.

You don’t entirely appreciate how alone you are until you’ve lost your parents.

In the beginning, we piled stones on graves to stop wild animals from digging up the remains of our loved ones. I suppose those rough mounds served as markers as well, but the principal reason we piled them so high and wide was because we didn’t want to come back to find our parents’ bones strewn around like any other animal’s. Nowadays, with coffins and fancy fenced-off graveyards in the middle of the city, you don’t have to worry about anything eating your dead parents. We’ve almost run out of things to worry about.

I’m kidding. I wouldn’t even mention it, but down east here, people tend not to know when you’re kidding.

From this award-winning, acclaimed writer comes a searingly powerful novel that portrays how one fateful, brutal day in the life a young prairie man reverberates far beyond imagining – a brilliant portrayal of the struggle between fate and faith.

In the suffocating town of Broken Head, Saskatchewan, Dwight Froese confesses to having killed his father in a duel, maintaining that he was avenging the murder of his mother, whose body had been found floating in a nearby creek the day before. But when the coroner rules the woman’s death an accident, Dwight’s certainty is shattered. In the explosive tale that follows, he attempts to reconcile the violent legacy he has inherited with what it will take to forge a new life for himself – and the complicated relationships with the various townspeople that develop as a result.

What Lee Gowan is working on now: I’m working on a new novel, but it is still very much in progress.

For more information about Lee Gowan, his teaching, writing and books, please see his website.

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