Son of a Critch

What could be better than growing up in the 1980s? How about growing up in 1980s Newfoundland, which - as Mark Critch will tell you - was more like the 1960s. Recently we spoke with the author about this funny and warm look back on his formative years.

What inspired you to write Son of a Critch?
The folks at Penguin Canada suggested writing about my childhood after they read a short section that referenced it in a piece I showed them. At first I wasn’t sure there was a book there but once I started down the path, I couldn’t stop. 

What was the most challenging aspect of the process? 
The most challenging part was keeping motivated. Writing a book can be a bit like swing across a lake. At a certain point you’ve come so far that you either finish or drown. It’s too late to turn back. I was motivated to keep swimming by my son Will who dutifully would read chapters as I went and offer his encouragement. 

What was the most rewarding part of the experience? 
The most rewarding part for me has been taking to people who have read it. I did a q and a with book club in Toronto. I was shocked and touched by the interesting questions they had. For me, that moment made the whole thing worth it. 

What did you learn during the process?
Some people go to therapy to dealt with their childhood. I wrote a book instead. The deeper I delved into the pay helped me to make sense of it. I also learned a lot about my family history and the hardships endured. That made me feel grateful for generations that I never knew existed before.

How did you feel when the book was completed?
I missed the writing process immediately. They say you can’t go home again but writing the book made me feel like I had.

What has the response been like so far from those that have read it?
So far, folks have been enjoying it. People keep sending me photos on social media of the book one their beds, tables and I’m vacation spots. It made the best sellers list, which was a happy surprise. And people tell me that they can hear echoes of their own families in there which is lovely to hear. 

Will there be a sequel?
Yes! I’m contracted to do another and I hope to start this summer. 

What are your thoughts on the state of literature in Newfoundland/Labrador?
We are punching way above our weight. Lisa Moore, Joel Thomas Hynes, Michael Crummey, Kevin Major, I could go on for hours. For a tiny population, Newfoundland and Labrador has produced one hell of a lot of great writers. And Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are readers. They devour those works. 

What's next on your agenda?
Next for me is more 22 Minutes. We are currently shooting a special for the holidays. The book is about my family back home. The folks I work with are my family in Halifax. It’s a true joy to work with them every day. I’m blessed.

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