Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 16
- Grade: 11
Adapted for the stage by Charles Tidler from two stories by Jack Hodgins. Spit Delaney is a steam locomotive operator at a pulp mill. After decades of rising at 4am to fire up his beloved steam engine, Spit finds himself without a job when the pulp mill replaces “Old Number One” with a modern diesel engine. Spit declares that he is: “Not sure of where or how I belong.” Spit’s relationship with his family and the world around him is thrown in turmoil as he doggedly tries to hang onto an identity that is no longer relevant. This is the stuff of comedy, and yet it is also the stuff of the human condition. As we laugh at Spit’s misguided struggle to stay the same, we empathize with his loneliness at being left behind while others move on – more readily adapting to a changing world. But there are magical forces at work here, guiding Spit – kicking and screaming – towards a deeper understanding of himself and an unexpected outcome.
About the authors
Charles Tidler is a poet, novelist, librettist, spoken jazz artist and, playwright who has written scripts for stage, radio, TV and film. Recent stage plays include Tortoise Boy (Belfry Festival .04) and Rappaccini’s Daughter (Phoenix Theatre, U of Victoria, 2003). Red Mango, a blues play, was a box office and critical hit at the Belfry Theatre in 2000 and has been published by Anvil Press.
Honors include National Radio Awards, a Chalmers Outstanding Play Award, Canada Council and B.C. Arts Council awards, and a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. A novel Going to New Orleans was published to critical acclaim in 2004.
Charles has worked for 20 years as a dramaturge and teacher of creative writing at North Island College, The University of Victoria, Camosun College, Canadian College of Film & Acting, The Banff School of Fine Arts, The Kootenay College of Arts, Playwrights Theatre Centre, Intrepid Theatre, Theatre BC, and The Belfry Theatre.
Charles grew up in Indiana, studying literature and philosophy at Purdue University. He has lived on the west coast of Canada since 1969 and is the father of two sons. He makes his home in Victoria, BC.
Jack Hodgins was raised in Merville, on Vancouver Island, and graduated from the University of British Columbia. Until recently, he taught fiction writing at the University of Victoria. His novels and story collections include: Spit Delaney’s Island, The Invention of the World, Innocent Cities, Broken Ground, Distance, and Damage Done by the Storm. In the spring of 2010, he published his newest novel, The Master of Happy Endings (Thomas Allen). A Passion for Narrative (a guide to writing fiction) is used in classrooms and writing groups across Canada and Australia. Hodgins’ fiction has won the Governor General’s Award, the Canada-Australia Prize, the Commonwealth Prize (Canada and the Caribbean) and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, amongst others. He has given readings, talks, and workshops in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and several European countries, and has taught an annual fiction workshop in Mallorca, Spain. In 2006 he received both the Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in British Columbia. In 2009 the Governor General appointed him a Member of the Order of Canada. He and his wife Dianne have three grown children and three grandchildren. Jack Hodgins’ website is www.jackhodgins.ca
Spit Delaney's Island: Selected StoriesIn this collection of short stories first published in 1976, Hodgins creates unique, tough and quirky characters living in small towns on Vancouver Island. An engineer loses the love of his life and a radio DJ spends his life trying to spite his family. Set against the backdrop of farming life and the logging industry, these stories are about love gone wrong and lives left unfulfilled.
Hodgins has written many short story collections and novels including The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne. This book won the Eaton’s Book Prize when it was first published.
Caution: Use of the term “Indian”. Includes coarse language. Describes sex, physical and domestic violence, and keeping a disabled child locked away in unhealthy conditions.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2011-2012.
Other titles by Charles Tidler
Other titles by Jack Hodgins
Damage Done by the Storm
Resurrection of Joseph Bourne, The
Or a Word or Two on Those Port Annie Miracles
Resurrection of Joseph Bourne
Or, A Word or Two on Those Port Annie Miracles
Barclay Family Theatre, The
The Master of Happy Endings
Invention of the World, The
A Passion for Narrative
A Guide to Writing Fiction - Revised Edition