Neil McKinnon has been a businessman, archaeologist, university lecturer, and freelance writer. He has worked in China, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. and holds a BSc in Math and BA and MA in archaeology. His articles and stories have appeared in Canadian, Japanese, Mexican and U.S. publications. Tuckahoe Slidebottle is his first book. It was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock award and for the Alberta award for short fiction. He has just completed his second book, The World’s Greatest Lover. His wife, Judy, is quick to point out that it is a work of fiction. They have been married for 46 years. Parts of both books were written in the Lethbridge Public Library.
Neil was born at a young age in an old house that is now a funeral parlour. It was June, 1941. War was raging in Europe and Joe Dimaggio was in the middle of a fifty-six-game hitting streak. He grew up in Togo, Saskatchewan—to the height of 5 feet 10 inches where he stayed until he was fifty-nine, at which point he started to shrink.
The allies chose Neil’s third birthday to invade France. In 1955 he and a friend left Togo and hitchhiked to Vancouver to seek friendlier pastures. Vancouver was not a friendly pasture for two farm boys with only $20 so they went camping in an abandoned car on Vancouver Island.
After a career selling encyclopaedias door-to-door Neil landed a job at the PNE where he sold fix-o-gases, unsinkable boats, spray shoeshine, aqua-filter cigarettes, and one-man pool tables. He has never been a lumberjack, steer-wrestler, miner or prizefighter.
He wrote his first story at ten and it remains unpublished. Quick to speak, he runs down slowly and people often leave the room while he is still talking. He is very competitive and once won two cans of fried chicken in a fishing derby.