About Gordon Kirkland
Gordon Kirkland has spent most of the last four decades writing in one form or another. He got his start writing and performing comedy in the coffeehouses of Southern Ontario in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
Realizing that he wanted to write, but that he also enjoyed eating and having a roof over his head, he took a number of positions in the Canadian federal government, which afforded him the opportunity to write about exciting matters such as the catalogue descriptions of electronic resistors, the conversion to the metric system, and finally, responding to the letters of complaint sent to then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
After leaving the government for private industry, he continued writing about marketing and strategic planning, the aquaculture industry, energy production and conservation, and the entertainment industry. During this time he wrote a series of books with titles such as A Guide To Canada’s Aquaculture Industry in Malaysia, which he says are “real page turners, and make darn fine doorstops.”
In 1990 Kirkland suffered a serious spinal cord injury. He jokes that this was a golfing injury, because his car was rear-ended while he was on the way to a golf course, and it significantly changed his handicap.
In 1994, Kirkland started writing short humorous essays. They were picked up as a weekly newspaper feature column by the Moncton, New Brunswick Times & Transcript. In 1996, Kirkland began syndicating the column to newspapers in Canada and the United States, eventually appearing in dozens of newspapers. The column ran continuously until 2007.
Kirkland’s first book, Justice Is Blind – And Her Dog Just Peed In My Cornflakes was published by Harbour Publishing in 1999. It received the 2000 Stephen Leacock Award of Merit For Humour, one of Canada’s premier literary awards. His second book, Never Stand Behind A Loaded Horse, was published in 2004 by Thistledown Press. It too, received Stephen Leacock Award of Merit For Humour. In 2005, Kirkland realized that he needed to shorten the period between books, and joined the beginnings of the independent author/publisher movement. His first book published this way was When My Mind Wanders It Brings Back Souvenirs. For the third time, he was awarded the Stephen Leacock Award of Merit For Humour. Subsequently he published I Think I’m Having One Of Those Decades in 2006, and I May Be Big But I Didn’t Cause That Solar Eclipse in 2007. In 2009, he published Holly Jolly Frivolity, a collection of stories about the holiday season and a number of rewritten holiday songs, in conjunction with his stage appearances of the same name. His latest collection, My Slice Of Life Is Full Of Gristle was released in early 2012.
In 2007, Kirkland was cast for a role in the TV series, The 3 Day Novel. Twelve Canadian writers were locked in a big-box book store in Edmonton, Alberta for 72 hours, during which they each had to complete the first draft of a novel, After polishing and adding to the story he wrote during the taping of the show, he published it in early 2011 with the title, Crossbow. The story is a darkly comedic mystery along the lines of the movie Fargo, but without the wood chipper.
Kirkland’s second novel, The Plight Before Christmas, was released In September of 2011. It follows a family as they experience a series of comedic calamities and disasters leading up to the holiday season in the early 1960’s. It shows just what can happen when Murphy’s Law takes over the holidays. In December of 2011, The Plight Before Christmas was #1 on the Amazon Parenting & Family Humor Bestsellers List, along with four of Gordon's previous books in the top 20.
In April of 2012, Gordon Kirkland was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease due to non-alcoholic cirrhosis. He was given 18 months to live without a transplant, but told the likelihood of a transplant becoming available in time was extremely slim. Seventeen months later, he was in palliative care and had signed a do not resusitate order, when an organ match was found. He is now back with his tenth book, Laughing At Life At Fart Height. In this book, Kirkland shares his favorite stories from the past two decades, including stories from his column, magazine article, previous books, and his stage presentations. It is his goal to show that living with a spinal cord injury does not affect one's ability to see the funny events that occur in day-to-day life for everyone, able-bodied and disabled alike.
Kirkland has been a frequent keynote speaker and workshop leader at writer’s conferences, festivals and university programs throughout Canada and the United States. He is also a regular guest on radio and TV talk shows.
He lives near Vancouver, BC with his wife, Diane and their Labrador Retriever. The Kirklands have two grown sons.
Comments by Other Writers
"Gordon Kirkland is a very funny writer who is able to find humor in just about anything, because the only alternative would be for him to get a real job. As a fellow class clown suffering from maturity impairment, I salute him."
"Not only is Gordon accomplished in his field, but he is funny! I don't know if you have ever tried being funny on paper, but it is one of life's miracles. Gordon should probably be sainted. But don't take my word for it; just read him."
“ . . . If life is a load then laugh at it. This is Gordon Kirkland's take on the stress of survival. His writing is an affirmation that we're all in the same boat — it just leaks in different places Nothing is safe from his crack-the-wit columns, which is why I love to read his stuff . . . I just wouldn't want to be married to him!”
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