W. P. Kinsella “hit on something that people were interested in”

For THE KANSAS CITY STAR, Brian Burnes interviewed the legendary W. P. Kinsella.


photo: Ed Steers

The “Field of Dreams” genesis story can be found in “The Essential W.P. Kinsella,” published in spring.

The collection includes many of Kinsella’s short stories, such as “Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa,” which inspired the novel. An essay by Kinsella, now 80, explains how that story became that novel’s first chapter.

Kinsella, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, gives full credit to collaborators.

The short story first appeared in a 1979 anthology of Canadian writers. A publishing house editor, Larry Kessenich, read the story (or, Kinsella writes, not even the full story, but a review of that anthology) and contacted Kinsella, saying that if it was not a book, it should be.

The subsequent novel, in turn, became a film property ultimately claimed by screenwriter and director Phil Alden Robinson.

“I have been very lucky,” Kinsella said recently from his British Columbia home.


“I hit on something that people were interested in and no one else was doing. It was a wide-open market. I was like a prospector finding a vein of gold, and I worked it for all it was worth.”

That seems harsh and doesn’t account for the experience of re-reading the 1982 novel, so often described as an example of “magical realism.”

Read the rest of the interview at THE KANSAS CITY STAR.

Elsewhere, THE DES MOINES REGISTER announced the first annual Finney’s Favorites, as selected by popular columnist Daniel P. Finney.

5 suggested summer reads (fiction category):

1. “The Other Typist,” by Suzanne Rindell

2. “Post Office,” by Charles Bukowski

3. “Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline

4. “The Essential W.P. Kinsella,” by W.P. Kinsella

5. “The X-Files: Trust No One,” by various authors, including Muscatine’s own Max Allan Collins

Check out the rest of Finney’s choices at THE DES MOINES REGISTER.

For more info about THE ESSENTIAL W. P. KINSELLA, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Thomas Canty

Cover design by Elizabeth Story