Author Interview with Michael Januska

Author Interview with Michael Januska

Posted on November 22 by admin
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

Today we have an interview with Michael Januska, who is the author of Grey Cup Century. The Grey Cup is of course on Sunday between the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts. Michael tells us how he got started writing this book, what the hardest part of writing it was, and what his new project is.

Caitlyn: Tell us about your book.

Michaek: It’s called Grey Cup Century. It’s a concise, and I hope entertaining, account of the first ninety-nine Grey Cup matches, which were played between 1909 and 2011. Not so much a stats book as it is a fast-paced history of the phenomenon that is Canada’s annual Grey Cup game.

Caitlyn: Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work, and why you felt compelled to explore it.

Michael: Very early in my research it occurred to me that the overarching theme was going to have to be survival. In its formative years the game of football struggled for respect, and soon after that the idea of an annual Dominion Championship — what we now refer to as the Grey Cup — had to fight to gain recognition. Over the past century, the game’s obituary has been written more times than I care to count and yet it endures and has maintained its distinct identity.

And the more I read, the more I became intrigued not just by the game and the lore of the cup, but also by the die-hard fans who, for generations, have had their faith challenged but never lost hope. And then there are those wild Grey Cup Festival parties that turn perfectly sane people into football-mad…well, let’s just say what happens at the Grey Cup Festival stays at the Grey Cup Festival.

Caitlyn: How did you research your book?

Michael: I decided from the get-go that if I had to rely on secondary resources, then I would stick with newspapers because they would give me the freshest, most immediate account of the events. It turned out to be a terrific exercise as the articles showed me how journalists would each approach not only the event but also football a little differently, to suit their respective audiences. And, not surprisingly, as the game evolved and its place in the Canada’s cultural landscape changed, so did the perspective and the style of writing.

For additional inspiration, I made local pilgrimages to Rosedale Field, the site of the first Grey Cup game in 1909; Varsity Stadium at University of Toronto, host to more grey Cup games than any other venue; and Rogers Centre to see an Argonauts-Edmonton Eskimos game (which the Argos lost). I’d like to get out to see some of the other Grey Cup sites in the province this fall.

Caitlyn: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Michael: Distilling the wealth of anecdotes and information. It’s such a rich and complex history, and there are so many stories that deserve to be told. It was almost overwhelming at times and so I just isolated a few narrative threads and followed them.

Caitlyn: What is your new project?

Michael: My first novel — Riverside Drive — is coming out in May ’13. It’s set in my hometown, Windsor, Ontario in the years immediately following the First World War. As the first installment in my ‘Border City Blues’ series, it covers the early days of Prohibition, includes themes inspired by the dawn of the modern age, and touches on some of the social upheaval that brought about the so-called Roaring ‘20’s. It was fun to write and I’m anxious to continue the series so that I can see how it ends.