Canadian author Kevin Hardcastle is realistic about the literary game. The 37-year-old Midland, Ontario native makes no pretences of the abundance of riches awaiting – or not awaiting – his newest book, In the Cage.
Hardcastle’s first effort, Debris, won a Trillium Book Award and ReLit Award for short fiction, which helps lend some credence to an exciting trend.
The Canadian literary landscape is changing.
Slowly but surely, the diversity of stories, combined with improved accessibility has generated an exciting new array of storytellers.
In the Cage focuses on the trappings of Daniel, a talented but troubled MMA fighter. It’s caught the eye of not only the combat sports community, but authors as diverse from John Irving to Waubgeshig Rice.
“I didn’t want to focus entirely on the fighting,” Hardcastle explained to MMA Crossfire. “I wanted to focus on a guy who was a fighter and how that informed the rest of his life. I thought that was the more interesting story. I wanted people who weren’t into MMA to understand it and sort of emphasize with the character, but I wanted people who understood the sport to be able to read it too.”
“A lot of older, more established writers are upset because they think nobody reads anymore,” Hardcastle said. “They were around when writing was more popular, the internet and movies weren’t as big and all these different things, but young people going into writing now are enthusiastic because they understand they are not going to get famous or rich. They do it because they love it or are really passionate about it.
“It still needs to get a fair bit more diverse in Canadian writing, that’s for sure, but you’re starting to get stories from people that otherwise weren’t read in this country.”
So, where do we go from here?
For better or for worse, the Canadian literary prize season still dictates what a lot of Canadians read. “But you’re seeing the stories that get up for them being more a lot more interesting than they used to be,” Hardcastle added. “It used to be very white-bred, boring, old Canadian writers, and now you’re seeing some really interesting stuff. I think it is definitely being pushed by the younger generations of emerging writers. They are not snotty about where they get their influences from. I get a lot of influences from other mediums like training, movies, anything that informs the work.
“I think it’s an exciting time. People aren’t writing what they’re supposed to write. They’re thinking outside the box, using social media and marketing themselves to the community.”
“It’s a good fight, it got sort of overshadowed from the Mayweather-McGregor fight, but I think it’s going to do well,” Hardcastle said thoughtfully. “I’m sort of leaning towards Canelo by decision, just based on the stiffness competition he’s faced and Golovkin’s last fight against Daniel Jacobs. It can go either way, we may see a few knockdowns, but I don’t know if anyone is going to be finished. I do this it’s going to be a damned good fight and it has the potential to be the best fight of the year.
“I’m not mad like Oscar De La Hoya,” Hardcastle laughed. “It’s going to do fine (financially), regardless of Mayweather-McGregor.”