Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall is a journalist, teacher, actor and author, among some even less pragmatic things. His first book, “Down to This: Squalor and Splendour in a Big-City Shantytown” — about a year he spent living with the homeless — was short-listed for several prestigious awards, none of which it won. His first novel, “Ghosted,” about a guy who becomes a professional ghostwriter of suicide letters, was nominated for the Amazon First Novel Award, which he also lost. His work has appeared in dozens of magazines — most of which no longer exist. He played the role of Jason, a well-dressed, bad mannered journalist, on CBC’s The Newsroom — in what turned out to be its final season. He used to own a bar in Toronto, called the Lowdown, but that didn’t work out either. He is, however, a helluva talker — although the title of his new book, Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for a Cure, kind of speaks for itself.
Shaughnessy has given talks, been interviewed and served as host at numerous international writers’ festivals, universities, fundraisers, and on countless TV and radio programs. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Toronto.
At first this may seem like a somewhat limited subject, but after nearly a decade of intense research and unmitigated mishap, travelling to a dozen countries and more than thirty cities, the toughest part was containing all he found in just one book. Hungover: The Morning After and One Man’s Quest for a Cure — which will be published this November in Canada, the US, UK, Germany, Poland and Korea — is a potent elixir of social history, scientific experiment, pop-culture essay, medical endeavor, academic scholarship, adventure story, philosophical examination, boozy biography, mythic quest, cautionary tale, and regrettable memoir.
The speaker’s subtopics about hangovers are numerous and varied, including sports, music, literature, movies, medicine, marketing, business, politics, near-death experiences, etymology, psychology, food and drink, winemaking, beer brewing, distillation and art history. Oh and he’s also willing to divulge the cure.
Since the release of Down to This: Squalor and Splendour in a Big City Shantytown, the author has given dozens of talks about his year living in Toronto’s Tent city — a lawless, fascinating homeless settlement on the edge of Lake Ontario. He welcomes any opportunity to speak openly and honestly about his first-hand experience with the violence, drug addiction and desperation of that life, and also the bravery, brilliance and kindness of so many people he used to know.
Writing: Shaughnessy has been teaching Creative Writing at the University of Toronto for more than 15 years now. He has written lectures and lessons on every facet of fiction, non-fiction and journalism, and has led countless workshops on Writing the Memoir, Writing the Novel and Creative Non-Fiction. When not teaching his own classes, he spends much of his professional time as a visiting lecturer and keynote speaker.
Speaking Agent: Rob Firing