September 10, 2013
Finalist, 2014 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award
Finalist, Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year
Honourable Mention, Trade Fiction Design (Alcuin Society)
Winner, Book Design Award (Alberta Book Awards)
The Peak: a university student newspaper with a hard-hitting mix of inflammatory editorials, hastily thrown-together comics and reviews, and a news section run the only way self-taught journalists know how—sloppily.
Alex and Tracy are two of The Peak’s editors, staring down graduation and struggling to keep the paper relevant to an increasingly indifferent student body. But trouble looms large when a big-money free daily comes to the west-coast campus, threatening to swallow what remains of their readership whole.
It’ll take the scoop of a lifetime to save their beloved campus rag. An exposé about the mysterious filmed-on-campus viral video? Some good old-fashioned libel? Or what about that fallen Hollywood star, the one who’s just announced he’s returning to Simon Fraser University to finish his degree?
With savage wit, intoxicating energy, and a fine-tuned ear for the absurd, Michael Hingston drags the campus novel, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
“A fresh take on the campus novel, Michael Hingston’s debut is a droll, incisive dissection of the terrible, terribly exciting years known as post-adolescence.” – Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers
“The Dilettantes is a whip-smart and very funny literary portrait of the post-ironic generation. Don’t miss this.” – Zoe Whittall, author of Holding Still for as Long as Possible and Bottle Rocket Hearts
“I know the student newspaper world of which Michael Hingston writes very intimately—apparently, though, he knows it much, much better. Sharply funny, to say this portrait of undergraduate flailing and becoming hits close to home would be an understatement worthy of an angry, typo-laden letter to the editor.” – Charles Demers, author of The Prescription Errors
Reviews and Interviews
“The design of the unanimous winner in this category presents a highly resolved cover featuring great illustration, use of colour, and integration of cover copy overall. Appreciable care is evident in the design details of the spine, back cover, flaps, and inside back cover map feature. The design flows seamlessly through to the interior where margins, typeface, and size selections make for a pleasing and comfortable read. The winner of the Book Design Award is Freehand Books for The Dilettantes, design by Natalie Olsen.” Jury remarks, 2014 Alberta Book Awards.
The Next Chapter interview with Shelagh Rogers, CBC Radio, May 19, 2014.
“Hingston affectionately explores his wayward characters and their struggle through the recurring terror of post-graduation… Hingston’s commitment to the millennial voice is steadfast and true, and culminates in a truly unique campus novel.” Portal magazine, 2014.
“While you sometimes want to scream at the characters, you also root for them every step of the way.” Avenue Edmonton, March 5, 2014.
“The Dilettantes: Simon Says,” NOW, February 20, 2014.
“Remember in undergrad when you worked on the school newspaper? Doesn’t matter. When you read this, you’ll relive those days whether you lived them in the first place or not—that’s how familiar Michael Hingston’s The Dilettantes feels.” The Coast, January 31, 2014.
“Book Review: The Dilettantes — A Comic Novel,” Langley Today, January 31, 2014.
“Funny and shrewd.” Alberta Views, January/February 2014.
“The tribulations of a student newspaper staff fighting both market forces (a free corporate-owned rag threatens their fragile readership) and their own ongoing youthful identity crises are depicted with toe-curling immediacy — and hilarity — by a writer close enough to his characters’ ages that his viewpoint has the ring of lived truth.” Montreal Gazette, December 19, 2013.
“Hingston…pokes sly fun at student mores, journalistic conceits, and SFU academic life.” aq (SFU alumni magazine), November 2013.
Interview on CKUA Radio’s ArtBeat, November 10, 2013.
“An uproarious and thoroughly readable debut, one this reviewer isn’t hesitating to recommend.” Rover Arts, October 27, 2013.
“The Three Rs: Michael Hingston,” Slightly Bookist, October 25, 2013.
The Dilettantes “may well be the Great Canadian Comic Novel.” Winnipeg Free Press, October 21, 2013.
“Campus novels are notorious for experimenting with life’s bigger issues within the petri dish of the university, but The Dilettantes isn’t just a microcosm of the world: it’s a microcosm of the media.” — The Georgia Straight, October 2, 2013.
“Definitely Not a Dilettante: Meet Michael Hingston,” Litstack, October 2, 2013.
“Hot Off the Presses: The Dilettantes author Michael Hingston talks Louis CK, student journalism and the value of perseverance,” The Peak, September 30, 2013.
“The Dilettantes hits home with campus novel tale: Former Peak editor Michael Hingston provides a snapshot into life at a university paper,” The Peak, September 30, 2013.
“the early chapters are the most savage – “The Dilettantes” by Michael Hingston,” Spread it Like a Roll of Nickels, September 27, 2013.
Review, Globe and Mail, September 27, 2013.
“The Dilettantes crackles with wit, humour and intelligence and is a terrific debut.” Edmonton Journal, September 12, 2013.
“The Dilettantes presses campus life between its pages.” Buried in Print, September 12, 2013.
Review, Reading in Bed, September 11, 2013.
“Underneath the newspaper focus is a universal story of the student experience, and Hingston’s recollection of campus life is honest to a fault — from the residence kids who live in sweatpants to the pressures of getting laid before graduation… Full of characters that have likely played a supporting role in most of our own university or college experiences, it makes for a fully identifiable reading experience.” — The Gateway, September 11, 2013.
“Michael Hingston Explains How He Wrote His Novel,” Ballast, September 10, 2013.
“It’s charming, incisive, and witty as all hell. . . . I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that Michael Hingston has the chance of being my generation’s Douglas Coupland. He’s that astute, he’s that entertaining, he’s that funny, and he’s that relevant.” Another Book Blog, September 4, 2013.
“[G]enuinely funny and clever . . . The author’s journalistic background and personal experience in the university newspaper world offers detail that does not feel researched so much as lived, and consistently rings true.” — The Winnipeg Review, August 29, 2013.
“Fall is all about the back-to-school frenzy and if you’re nostalgic for the ivory tower, Hingston’s novel is the perfect answer. A struggling university paper faces the dual challenges of graduating editors and an off-campus competitor in this zippy, zany debut.” — CBC Books, August 30, 2013.
“Back to School: 11 Tips for Making It Through University (and Life) from The Dilettantes,” Literary Press Group, August 27, 2013.
“Interview with Michael Hingston,” Literary Goon, August 21, 2013.
“Preview: Michael Hingston — The Dilettantes,” Vancouver Weekly, August 12, 2013.
“Hingston’s strength is in dramatizing how lost and confused these young people are in a world fixated on surface appearances. And he does it all with a delicious sense of humour, eviscerating his characters’ extended adolescence while creating sympathy for their attempt to find a place in the world.” — Quill and Quire starred review, July/August 2013.
“I couldn’t believe nobody had written a novel about a student newspaper before. It seemed so obvious. The comedy is almost automatic: a group of people in a low-stakes situation, taking everything very, very seriously. And then at the same time being almost literally too lazy to function.” — interview, Author Spotlight interview with Jessica Kluthe, June 19, 2013.
“Two Edmonton writers score publishing deals on the same day,” GigCity, December 15, 2013.