Ken McGoogan – update on a new edition of a previous novel

Ken McGoogan previously visited Reading Recommendations in Sept. 2016, and is back to tell us about a re-release of a novel he published in 1993 that is now available again in print and as an eBook.


Kerouac’s Ghost
by Ken McGoogan
Published by Bev Editions
Genre: Literary Fiction

Frankie McCracken is still recovering from the Psychedelic Sixties when, while working as a fire lookout in the Canadian Rockies, he finds himself wrestling with a miracle-worker who claims to be the late Jack Kerouac, King of the Beats. This kaleidoscopic coming-of-age novel arrives in 2016 like a note in a bottle from a distant world.

Fiction writer Matt Cohen hailed this work as “an unrepentant blast from the past.” It juggles timelines and narrators, asserts that Kerouac was bigger than Beat, and celebrates his French Canadian roots. This long-awaited, revised digital edition is the definitive version of a favourite novel.

“An unrepentant blast from the past, a politically incorrect celebration of men as libidinous explorers of the physical and spiritual unknown.”
Matt Cohen

“Larger than life and crackling with energy . . . an exuberant celebration of the King Beat himself.”
Charles Mandel

“What I like best about Visions of Kerouac is the gentle voice of conscience underneath the adventure narrative, the writer who is not afraid to find his own heart and follow it amid a wilderness of souls who have lost their way . . . . McGoogan finds the trail to a new and saner life, both for himself and for those of us lucky enough to hear his words.”
Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac

From Ken McGoogan’s Blog

Where to purchase Ken’s book:

Ken McGoogan

I first met Ken McGoogan in Calgary almost 3 decades ago (!) when he was Books Editor at The Calgary Herald and I was manager of Sandpiper Books. I was honoured when he later agreed to write a blurb for the print edition of my novel. It gives me great pleasure to be able to present to all my readers Ken’s new book on the day it is being released in Canada!

ken in tarbert again (2) Ken McGoogan

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Celtic Lightning: How the Scots and the Irish Created a Canadian Nation

Quick description: With Celtic Lightning, best-selling author Ken McGoogan plunges into the perpetual debate about Canadian roots and identity: who do we think we are? He argues that Canadians have never investigated the demographic reality that informs this book — the fact that more than nine million Canadians claim Scottish or Irish heritage.

McGoogan writes that, to understand who we are and where we are going, Canadians must look to cultural genealogy. He builds on the work of Richard Dawkins, who contends that ideas and values (“memes”) can be transmitted from one generation to another. Scottish and Irish immigrants arrived in Canada with values they had learned from their forebears. And they did so early enough, and in sufficient numbers, to shape an emerging Canadian nation.

McGoogan highlights five of the values they imported as foundational: independence, audacity, democracy, pluralism, and perseverance. He shows that these values are thriving in contemporary Canada, and traces their evolution through the lives of thirty prominent individuals — heroes, rebels, poets, inventors, pirate queens — who played formative roles in the histories of Scotland and Ireland.

final cover celtic

Brief biography:
While researching Celtic Lightning, Ken McGoogan spent several summers driving around Scotland and Ireland, and also circumnavigated both countries. His dozen previous books include How the Scots Invented Canada, Fatal Passage, and Lady Franklin’s Revenge. Ken has won the Pierre Berton Award, the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography, the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, and the Canadian Authors’ Association History Award. He voyages with Adventure Canada as an author-historian, and teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Toronto and in the new MFA program at University of King’s College in Halifax.

Links to buy Ken’s book:
Any good bookstore
Harper Collins Canada

Ken’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
A fifth book about Arctic exploration.

Ken’s reading recommendation:
Margaret MacMillan’s History’s People: Personalities and the Past.