author profile- Tim Wynne-Jones
by Nora Marsh
Born in Cheshire, England, grew up in British Columbia and Ontario, and studied at the University of Waterloo (B.A. in Fine Arts) and York University (MFA in Visual Arts). When he won the $50 000 Seal First Novel Award for Odd's End, a book he wrote in five weeks when his wife was away just after he finished university, his writing career began. Among his works are picture books, fiction for children and young adults, novels for adults, radio dramas, a children's musical, an opera libretto, short stories, and songs for the the CBC/Jim Henson TV production, "Fraggle Rock." He now lives near Perth, Ontario.
Having read Fastyngange, it is clear that Wynne-Jones has shown great development as an author. Fastyngange is the story of Alexis Forgeben and her internal/external struggles with a "hole" that she encounters while trying to put her life back together while on a trip to England. The hole is an entity of sorts, and takes control of her body and mind as she struggles for realization and closure over painful issues in her life. Even though this is Wynne-Jones' third work for adults, it is clear that he has trouble avoiding clichés and lame plot development. Fastyngange is slow to develop and never seems to go anywhere. It is also an interesting idea and worth a read if only to get a feel for Wynne-Jones' style.
More recommendable are his works for young adults. The Maestro, which is about 14 year old Burl who has finally escaped his brutal father, is more successful even though written for a younger audience. With nothing but his inner compass to direct him, Burl stumbles upon a famous musician in his hidden cabin who is trying to escape the limelight that has been suffocating him. This "Maestro" (whose character is based on the legendary, eccentric pianist Glenn Gould) gives Burl shelter at his retreat by the lake, but remains an enigma to him. This is only the beginning of a psychologically adventurous story of growth and experience. Set in the wilderness of northern Ontario, this tale of inner struggle and physical endurance is powerful and excellently written -winning Tim Wynne-Jones the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature.
Regardless of your age Tim Wynne-Jones' works for young adults and children are entertaining and original. They are also more easy to recommend than his adult works. With the works for a younger audience Wynne-Jones' can remain cheesy but avoids the hideous clichés.
In his words
After awards for the Governor General's Award for Children's Literature were announced:
"I felt I was writing with complete honesty for the first time and each story felt better than the last--it was just a great experience"
"I'd like to think I began writing when I was drawing and started writing in the margins, but I was already thinking in terms of the story behind the picture. When you imagine something, the word 'imagine' has the word 'image' in it, and what you want to give readers is an image in their heads."
About his fascination with eight to fourteen year olds:
"I just find that age group to be so extraordinary, so bright and interesting and funny ... it's kind of a wonderful golden age"
1979 Seal First Novel Award for Odd's End.
1983 Municipal Chapter of Toronto IODE Book Award for Zoom at Sea.
1984 Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award for Zoom At Sea.
1988 ACTRA National Radio Award for "St. Anthony's Man".
1993 Governor General's Literary Award / Children's Literature (for best English text) for Some of the Kinder Planets.
1994 Book of the Year for Children Award (Canadian Library Association) for Some of the Kinder Planets.
1994 Vicky Metcalf Short Story Award for "The Hope Bakery" in Some of the Kinder Planets.
1994 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award for Children for Some of the Kinder Planets
1995 Governor General's Literary Award / Children's Literature (English text) for The Maestro.
1996 Canadian Library Association Young Adult Canadian Book Award for The Maestro
1995 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for The Maestro.
1996 International Reading Association Children's Literature Award (Ottawa Valley Council) for The Maestro.
1996 Book of the Year for Children Award (Canadian Library Association) for The Maestro.
1997 Vicky Metcalf Award for body of work
Books for Adults
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