Campus Life

Davie a born storyteller

It's easy to picture: a canopy of glimmering stars, crickets chirping in the background, rolling waves lapping against the shore as crisp dry wood crackles in the campfire, and the words of award-winning author and storyteller Michael Davie (BMgt '95) mesmerizing friends with a fantastical tale.

"I love the way that words sound, especially words that sound like what they are," says Davie, recent winner of the Alberta Reader's Choice Award. "The sound of words can change a sentence, but I would categorize myself as a storyteller rather than a word-person. I've just always wanted to tell a story, whether it was around the campfire or by putting words on paper."

In May, Davie earned an Alberta Reader's Choice Award for his comedic coming-of-age novel entitled Fishing for Bacon. The lead character, Bacon, is a sheltered young man experiencing sexuality and life in the big city. Davie is excited with the feedback he has received.

"I love reading the critiques. It has been a bit of a rush that, for the most part, has been overwhelmingly positive, but there has been some criticism of it that I find fascinating. I just try to take what everyone says and learn from it," says Davie. "It has been a great confidence boost to write a novel. It sounds so cliché to say that anything is possible, but anything is."

Davie's first storytelling outlet was through cartoons. He had dreams of following in the footsteps of noted comic artist, Charles Shultz.

"My mom used to buy me Peanuts comic books. I was always glued to them," says Davie. "I started to bring my own cartoons to high school and my best friend would laugh at them; hearing that laughter was a drug to do more."

After graduating from high school, Davie took a year off to commune with nature, spending a lot of time camping. In the fall of 1989, Davie entered the University of Lethbridge hoping to fulfill his creative aspirations.

"My original goal was to get to the Alberta College of the Arts but I couldn't connect the dots to form a career path. I decided to go into management. I have a very strong creative drive but I also have a strong analytical drive. To feel fulfilled I need to use both sides of my brain. I discovered a great path to that in marketing," says Davie, who is an ardent believer in the benefits of the University's liberal arts philosophy.
"The exposure to liberal arts classes, to different people and different viewpoints and the respectful environment under which we could express or challenge those views, really opened my eyes."

Davie graduated with a bachelor of management degree in marketing in 1995 then worked as a marketing manager in both Waterton and Banff. He also drew political cartoons and created a successful comic strip, The Last Resort, which he continued to do for about four years. In 1997, Davie travelled to Korea with a friend. He stayed for almost a year and a half, backpacking through the country and teaching English.

While in Korea, Davie's creative medium morphed from cartoons to short stories, for which he won several contests including an opportunity to attend a one-week course at the Victoria School of Writing.

"I had been taking some creative writing classes at the U of C and both my professors at the university and the instructors in Victoria told me that my short stories were novellas that I was refusing to allow to grow," recalls Davie. "That is what sparked my novel, Fishing for Bacon, that and the fact that there were so many interesting people and stories I saw when I lived in resort towns that I wanted to convey how it seemed to me."

That encouragement has benefitted us all.

The University bookstore has a fabulous display of Michael Davie's book Fishing for Bacon, prominently featured at the front of the store. As with all of their trade books, there is a 15% discount off the suggested retail price.