Punk author gets personal

Chris Walter’s Langside set for small screen adaptation

  • Ink-stained wretch: Chris Walter returns to Winnipeg this weekend for a series of readings. – Supplied

  • Ink-stained wretch: Chris Walter returns to Winnipeg this weekend for a series of readings. – Jen Dodds

Chris Walter is in town for the weekend with back-to-back events.

This Friday, Oct. 26, the author is visiting the Cr8ery for an intimate reading of his 2006 novel Langside, which is about a 13-year-old boy on “a fast-paced romp through the gang-infested streets of central Winnipeg.”

Unlike past visits wherein Walter has shared the bill with bands, this time he’s solo.

“When I read at the bar it’s always very noisy and people can’t even hear me in there,” says Walter over the phone from Vancouver. “It’s late, people are drunk and I don’t really get a chance to read properly.”

Walter is revisiting Langside this time around because it’s recently been optioned for a TV pilot - something he says, as an author, was unexpected and never in the plans.

“I had no idea where (writing) was going to take me. It just unfolded as it went. I had no idea it would take me here,” states Walter humbly. “I’ve been in contact with a Toronto producer for many years and he’s always been pushing to get my stuff on the screen. With the reading I’m hoping it will rekindle some interest. I want to draw attention to the book.”

On Saturday the author will be master of ceremonies for a charity event held at Ambrosia House. The event is in support of raising funds to buy musical instruments for autistic children - something Walter fully supports.

“My son has Asperger’s,” he says. “He doesn’t have full-scale autism or anything like that and he has no problems academically ... but musical instruments for autistic kids sounds like a great cause to me, and you have to choose your charities carefully because there are so many worthy causes.”

I had no idea where (writing) was going to take me. It just unfolded as it went. I had no idea it would take me here.

Chris Walter, author

At the charity event Walter will be reading from his upcoming novel, Chasing the Dragon, which is due for a May release.

“It’s about an unfortunate drug addict who, through no real fault of his own, makes some nasty people angry,” Walter explains. “His name is Dragon and they’re chasing him. He has a lot of luck, but it’s all bad.”

It’s the first of Walter’s books to be set both in Winnipeg and Vancouver.

“Having lived in both Vancouver and Winnipeg, I’m setting this book in both places rather than one or the other,” he laughs. “Dragon decides to flee Vancouver and head to Toronto, but on the way there he panics and ends up in Winnipeg. He’s never been there before. He doesn’t know what to expect, so it’ll have this drug addict’s (outsider) perspective on Winnipeg.”

Chasing the Dragon will be Walter’s 22nd book - proof that he’s never short of creative inspiration.

“I usually have an idea planned before I’m finished the project I’m working on,” says Walter. “I’ve had a few false starts. If I get to 20,000 words and a book is not happening I throw it down and start over, but as long as people keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them.”

Hear Chris Walter read from Langside at the Cre8ery on Friday, Oct. 26. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the reading starts at 9 p.m. Admission is by donation and the book will be sold at a discount price. Visit www.punkbooks.com for more information. You can also catch Walter at Ambrosia House on Saturday, Oct. 27, where he will read from Chasing the Dragon. Tickets are $50 and include beer, wine and a pig roast. Vegan dishes will also be available.

Published in Volume 67, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 24, 2012)

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