Surfing and literature seldom go hand in hand, we know that. It is what it is, and life goes on, I suppose. But once in a while huge surprise pops up and slaps you in the face.
One of those surprises is William Finnegan. He was born in NYC in the beginning of the fifties, but moved to Los Angeles and Hawaii with his parents, where he discovered surfing and got extremely passionate about it. Another passion of his was books and writing. He graduated in ’74 with a degree in Literature. But he discovered very early that literature and surfing were two different worlds that were very hard to combine, as the literary world looked down upon the surfing community, as being shallow.
He hid his passion for surfing and became a staff writer for The New Yorker and also got well-known for his works of international journalism. He has especially addressed issues of racism and conflict in Southern Africa and politics in Mexico and South America, as well as poverty among youth in the United States. Eventually he stopped caring about prejudices of the literary elite and soon became known for his writing on surfing.
In 2015 he wrote ‘Barbarian Days: a surfing life’, his autobiography focused on his personal surfing life and he got rewarded with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize this year. And we understand why he got it. It’s a brilliant piece of writing, and the ideal book for the holidays.
As part of his promotional tour, we were very honoured to have William Finnegan in our shop for a book signing of the Dutch translation ‘Primitieve Dagen: een surfend leven’. He turned out to be a very warm person, still very passionate about surfing and owner of thousands of amazing stories. It was a great evening. And ... you should definitely get your copy.
Thank you, William.