Paul Nicholas Mason

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Paul Nicholas Mason (1958 -) is an English-born Canadian novelist, playwright, and actor.

Mason has published two plays, The Discipline Committee and Circles of Grace (1995), which have been produced in Canada, Ireland and the United States. His play Sister Camille's Kaleidoscopic Cabaret won the Christians in Theatre Arts Full Length Play award in 1996, and premiered in Michigan in 1998.

Mason's first novel, Battered Soles, was published by Turnstone Press in 2005. The novel celebrates a fictional pilgrimage from Peterborough, Ontario, to the small village of Lakefield, where there is, Mason asserts, a statue of a blue-skinned Jesus with healing powers in the basement of St. John's Anglican Church. "Mason blends fiction with reality as he writes about taking this fictional pilgrimage...one weekend in July, 2003. By the time he takes this journey, it has become a mainstay tourist attraction (Swimmer 2006)." In July 2005 the real-world rector of St. John's posted a notice advising confused tourists that there was no such statue in the basement of the church, but that "anyone wishing an encounter with the living Christ" should join the congregation at Sunday services. The tone of the novel is comic: "More comedy than satire, it resounds of Horace rather than of Juvenal; Chaucer rather than Swift; Leacock rather than Richler (Gallagher 2005)"—but there are some moments of genuine pathos. It was nominated for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour in 2005.

Mason's second novel, The Red Dress, was published by Turnstone in 2008. The story of a seventeen-year-old young man growing up poor and confused in rural Ontario, it is significantly darker than Battered Soles, but the ending is cautiously hopeful. The Red Dress is set in a village called Greenfield, but the landmarks and features of the community suggest that Mason has blended Lakefield, Ontario with Barriefield, just outside the city of Kingston. The Red Dress was long-listed for the 2009 ReLit award.

Mason's third novel, The Night Drummer, was published by Vancouver's Now or Never in January 2015. It is the story of two teenage friends—white middle-class Peter Ellis, and Otis James, a native boy adopted by an evangelical Christian couple old enough to be his grandparents. Peter and Otis grow up in small town Ontario in the 1970s, and the novel follows them through their high school years. "As Ellis sleeplessly anticipates his high school’s looming 25-year reunion, his recollections balance moments of encroaching darkness with plenty of joyous light," says Publishers Weekly. "Ellis’s memories of first loves and jobs and an endearingly oddball assortment of friends, including Otis, a preternaturally wise and kind Ojibwe boy adopted by devout Caucasian parents, give this portrait a welcome sweetness that draws attention to the innocence, sheer possibility, and blithe lightheartedness of youth." The book is endorsed by former American poet laureate Billy Collins, the CBC's national correspondent Duncan McCue, and the poet Kimmy Beach.

Mason's work is characterized by what one reviewer calls its "fragile optimism" (Gallagher 2005). His plays and novels are informed by Christian belief, but are sometimes mildly profane.

Mason's Facebook page announces that a children's book, A Pug Called Poppy, is to be published in the fall of 2017.

Mason began a new career in 2015 as a voice-, television- and film-actor. He has roles in the feature films Super Detention, The Witches' Ball, A Dog in Paris, The Customer, Behanding and The Mechanical Boy.

Bibliography[edit]

  • The Discipline Committee Woodstock, Illinois: Dramatic Publishing, 1995.
  • Circles of Grace Woodstock, Illinois: Dramatic Publishing, 1995.
  • Battered Soles Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2005.
  • The Red Dress Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2008.
  • The Night Drummer Vancouver: Now or Never Publishing, 2015.
  • Jim's Star & Other Christmas Stories Peterborough: House Nash Press, 2015

References[edit]

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