Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kevin Van Valkenburg Q&A on Blog TVFury

It's been a few months since I've posted on any writing from Kevin Van Valkenburg and, fortuitously enough, came across recently a ridiculously good Q&A with him about his career and other topics around writing.

Interview was done by and posted on the blog TVFury ("Sports, writing and life through the eyes of Terry Vandrovec and Shawn Fury") and the final words of the Q&A intro are pretty much catnip to someone like myself with a bent towards great narrative sports writing...

"Here, Kevin talks about growing up with an editor mom, life as a college football player, literary heroes, leaving Montana and living in Baltimore, his story that made it into the Best American Sportswriting book, The Wire, David Stern’s ego, the writing life and much more."

Couple of things that stood out in the (long at 10,000+ words) interview were how different journalism was when Van Valkenburg graduated college and (towards the end of the piece) his listing of favorite long-form pieces, books and authors. Quite a few of the writers noted were ones I follow and of particular interest was a quote from sportswriter S.L. Price in his excellent memoir Far Afield.

Very well done interview with interesting answers provided. Not a surprise, though, as Van Valkenburg is a really good writer who (as noted in the piece) does a number of different types of writing.

He references in the Q&A his most rewarding work being this five-part serial narrative about a football team in West Baltimore and my favorite piece of his I haven't already linked to was Sense of loss drives Ngata on Baltimore Ravens (and former Oregon Ducks) lineman Haloti Ngata. Additionally, Van Valkenburg is known for his interesting Five Things We Learned Baltimore Sun column following Ravens games.