W.P. Kinsella (1935)
It was on this date, May 25, 1935, that Canadian novelist W.P. Kinsella was born William Patrick Kinsella in Edmonton, Alberta. A writer of baseball fiction, Kinsella’s bestselling 1982 novel, Shoeless Joe, was made into the very successful 1989 motion picture Field of Dreams. Kinsella won the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award for Shoeless Joe – an award “given for significant contribution to baseball in Canada through a life’s work or a singular outstanding achievement.” In 1993, Kinsella was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2005, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia. In 2009, he was awarded the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.
Many of Kinsella’s novels and stories have supernatural elements. But for those who would say, “Oh, then he must believe in God or a god, it must be pointed out that it is not unusual for a religious skeptic to use the supernatural as a literary device. For examples, there are: Edgar Allen Poe, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Henrik Ibsen, Anatole France, Honoré de Balzac, Ambrose Bierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Guy de Maupassant, Maurice Maeterlinck, Théophile Gautier, H. G. Wells, Oscar Wilde—and, of course, the most famous ghost storyteller of all time, Charles Dickens, author of “A Christmas Carol.”
Kinsella is reported to be a member of American Atheists by the British Columbia Humanist Association. He is profiled in the 1996 book Brave Souls: Writers and Artists Wrestle with God, Love, Death and the Things that Matter, by fellow Canadian Douglas Todd, in which W.P. Kinsella is profiled as an atheist.
Originally published May 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.