Bruce Gillespie

A blog by freelance writer and editor Bruce Gillespie.

Going to school with David Leach

This is my last full day in Victoria, and I’ll be spending the afternoon at the University of Victoria. I’ll be speaking with one of David Leach‘s creative nonfiction classes about the challenges of writing and editing family memoirs. I’m looking forward to it because David is someone I’ve known by byline for many years, but I’ve never had the chance to meet him in person until this week. The former arts editor of Victoria’s Monday Magazine and the former managing editor of explore: Canada’s Outdoor Magazine, in Toronto, David is now a full-time assistant professor at UVic’s Department of Writing.

If you haven’t his book Fatal Tide, released this past spring by Viking Canada, I highly recommend it. Here’s a short description from the book jacket:

On June 1, 2002, sixty-eight after-work athletes and other “weekend warriors” set off from Saint John, New Brunswick, for a sweaty day of competitive adventure: 15 kilometres of trail running, 40K of mountain biking, and 12 kilometres of sea kayaking on the legendary Bay of Fundy. However, as a storm swept across the final paddling section, what began as a fun introduction to the sport of adventure racing soon turned into a tragedy that would haunt many of the participants for years to come.

Fatal Tide: When the Race of a Lifetime Goes Wrong is a work of investigative journalism that dramatizes, in the storytelling style of such non-fiction bestsellers as Into the Wild and The Perfect Storm, precisely what happened at the controversial Fundy Multi-Sport Race. Fatal Tide also explores the psychology of risk taking in the outdoors, the contemporary culture of reality TV and extreme sports, the science and treatment of hypothermia, as well as the legal and emotional fallout from the first death of an adventure racer in North America.

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of adventure or travel writing, but David’s book is a compelling read that is hard to put down. It also went a long way toward explaining the appeal of adventure sports to someone like me, who would barely qualify as even an armchair adventurer. So, if you haven’t picked it up, you really should; you won’t regret it.


Written by bgillesp

October 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

Posted in Journalism, Writing

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