Author Tags: Fiction, Music

Paul Headrick lives in Vancouver with his partner, novelist Heather Burt. Headrick’s work has been published in numerous journals, including The Malahat Review and The Antigonish Review. As a teacher of literature and creative writing at Langara College, he published That Tune Clutches my Heart (Gaspereau Press, 2008), shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, followed by a collection of stories, The Doctrine of Affections (Broadview 2010), both mainly concerned with music. The latter has the following publishing blurb: “A poverty-stricken guitar virtuoso navigates the political landscape of nineteenth-century Parisian society as he comes out of retirement for one final concert. A sessional instructor competing for the prestigious Interdisciplinary Chair in Aretha Franklin Studies gets sidetracked by her obsession with a mysterious student in a yellow hat. A dying doo-wop DJ and his wife try to bridge the estrangement wrought by illness as they travel in search of the horns, drums, and vocals of highlife.”

Paul Headrick completed an MA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, and a PhD in English Literature at York University. He is also the author of a textbook, A Method for Writing Essays about Literature (Nelson Education).


A Method for Writing Essays about Literature (Nelson Education).

That Tune Clutches my Heart (Gaspereau Press, 2008) $24.95 9781554470648

The Doctrine of Affections (Freehand Books, 2010) $23.95 978-1-55111-978-6

[BCBW 2010] "Fiction"

That Tune Clutches My Heart
Press Release (2008)

On the eve of her first day of senior high, May Sutherland’s mother gives her a diary in which to record her experiences. It’s 1948 and the entire student body at Magee High in Vancouver is divided according to their preference for Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra. After losing her two best friends overnight, May struggles between her disdain for the debate and her loneliness as one of only a handful of neutrals. Parked in front of the living-room console, May conducts an extensive comparison of the two singers, only to find her questions one day answered by a different kind of music altogether. The diary entries reveal May’s commitment to being genuine and truthful, and her endeavours to match her parents’ poise while passing for a normal teenager in the process. In the often hilariously rigid turns of phrase with which May records her misunderstandings and attempts at maturity, Headrick captures the inner life of a good girl coming of age.

The Doctrine of Affections
Press Release (2010)

In the eleven stories that make up The Doctrine of Affections, Paul Headrick takes us on a fascinating journey into the heart of music. From the perfectly honed decrescendo of a symphony’s string section to the down-home chord progressions at a late-night kitchen party, Headrick’s stories question the subtle differences between hearing and listening, and communicating and understanding. The subjects of this collection are soloists, ensemble players, scholars, collectors, and lovers of music, but their experiences with risk, religion, relief, and often regret make their stories resonate for readers who are hearing their songs for the first time.