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Tough Tiddlywinks: Two wheels good; four wheels bad

February 27th, 2014

Having taught himself to paint while teaching law in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, Christopher Nowlin now lists his painterly influences as “Surrealism, shadows and the Spaghetti Western long shot.” Currently teaching law at Langara College, he will dually launch his latest collection of paintings and his new graphic novel, Tough Tiddlywinks, at Havana Gallery on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, on Sunday, March 23, from 4 to 7 pm. [The title of his most recent painting, shown at right, is ‘Swimsuits.’]

Tough Tiddlywinks investigates the murder of a sleazeball Vancouver real estate developer named “Condo King” Donald Dickerson in the wake of the 2008 US stock market Even though many people would have liked to see this philanderer off the planet, police arrest a First Nations man, Ryan Ghostkeeper, who is found with the murder weapon, a knife. A hung jury prompts Vancouver Police Sergeant Sandra Wolychenski to reevaluate the case and investigate a member of an anti-development group called The Resistance, Slim Jimmy, among a cadre of hard-core bicyclists. Two wheels good; four wheels bad. Nowlin’s background in law permeates this whodunnit that serves as a showpiece for his art.

Nowlin’s Judging Obscenity: A Critical History of Expert Evidence (McGill-Queens 2003) was nominated for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing in keeping with Nowlin’s particularly interests in constitutional law, expert evidence and undercover operations.

Nowlin, Christopher book jacket

Book jacket for Tough Tiddlywinks

Nowlin’s multi-faceted, self-published first novel To See the Sky (Granville Island 2007) is an ecologically sensitive crime novel set against the backdrop of controversial construction projects for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler. The title To See the Sky is derivative of the Sea-to-Sky Highway that connects Vancouver to Whistler. After the proposed expansion of that highway generates social unrest, two children disappear and their father becomes the main suspect. Elements of satire are mixed with the author’s fairy tale overview, making this story into a pentathalon of writing styles. Is it a literary novel, crime novel, satirical novel, fairy tale or social protest novel? Vancouver is renamed Olympia, West Vancouver becomes West Olympia, Squamish is Squamoosh and Penticton is Penwickton. The novel’s environmentally conscious protagonist, Demme Astrilsun, is independently wealthy.

“I’ve lived in various cities across Canada,” Nowlin told the Calgary Herald, “and I’ve never witnessed the same sense of affluence, the same self-confidence that you get in Vancouver. I just wanted to question in a fairly satirical way the rationale that we need the rest of the world to put Vancouver in the spotlight [with the Olympics].”

Nowlin, Christopher

Christopher Nowlin

Born (in 1964) and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta, Nowlin has a BA Honours in Philosophy from the University of Calgary and an MA in Philosophy from Brock University. He has also received an LL.B from the University of Ottawa, an LL.M from the University of British Columbia and a PhD in Criminology from Simon Fraser University. Christopher Nowlin lived in Ontario and Quebec before being called to the bar in B.C. A criminal defence lawyer, he has contributed essays to the Canadian Criminal Law Review, the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, and Human Rights Quarterly.

BOOKS:

Judging Obscenity: A Critical History of Expert Evidence (McGill-Queens 2003)

To See the Sky (Granville Island 2007)

Tough Tiddlywinks (A Picture’s Worth Press 2014)Trade Paperback – 375 pages – $29.95 / Special Edition Hardcover – 395 pages – $35.00 ISBN: 9780987726841

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