W.P. Kinsella, ‘Shoeless Joe’ author, dead at 81 through doctor-assisted death

W.P. Kinsella, ‘Shoeless Joe’ author, dead at 81 through doctor-assisted death - image

Renowned Canadian author W. P. Kinsella passed away Friday afternoon at the age of 81, choosing to end his life by assisted suicide, according to his literary agent.

William (Bill) Patrick Kinsella died just after 12 p.m. in Hope, B.C. after invoking the assisted dying provisions of Bill C-14.

Edmonton-born Kinsella published over 30 non-fiction, fiction and poetry books in his lifetime, including Shoeless Joe, which won the Books in Canada First Novel Award and was adapted in blockbuster film Field of Dreams.

READ MORE: A list of books written by venerated Canadian author W.P. Kinsella

He was also known for an acclaimed collection of short stories about life on Canadian First Nation reserves, which were eventually adapted into the Dance Me Outside movie and a CBC series called The Rez.

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“He was a dedicated story-teller, performer, curmudgeon, an irascible and difficult man,” said Kris Rothstein, an associate agent at the Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency where Kinsella was a long-time client.

“His fiction has made people laugh, cry, and think for decades and will do so for decades to come. Not a week has passed in the last 22 years, without receiving a note of appreciation for Bill’s stories.”

Kinsella was also awarded the Leacock Award and was recognized as an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2005, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia and he was awarded the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. Kinsella has been presented with honorary degrees from Laurentian University, University of Victoria, and the Open Learning Institute.

He was born outside Edmonton on May 25, 1935. He lived there until relocating to Victoria, B.C., in 1967. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of Victoria at the age of 39, and a Masters of Fine Arts in English from the University of Iowa 4 years later.

He then taught English at the University of Calgary before becoming a professional author.

In accordance with Kinsella’s wishes, there will be no memorial service.

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