The Dilettantes

A campus novel for the 21st century. 

With this book, Michael Hingston managed to revive nostalgia I didn’t know I had for my own flailing Millennial-ish undergrad experience. Set at Simon Fraser University, the story follows two editors of The Peak student newspaper in their last year of school when a corporate-owned rag moves in and threatens their already apathetic readership.

The inside back flap hosts a map outlining campus locations for those unfamiliar with Burnaby Mountain, plus a few other utilitarian details, like where the bears are. Rogner & Bernhard released a foreign edition, Die Dilettanten, and translated the map in case you one day need to communicate your desire to “zip line” or “rope slide” in German. (Seilrutsche.)

The 21 chapters are spotted with marginalia that I recreated in as much detail as I could: a course syllabus and other school handouts, a Metro newspaper article, text messages, and an IMDb web page circa 2008 (with gratitude to the Wayback Machine).

Overall, the project went quite smoothly; the only thing we argued about, was the placement of an overly hipster moustache on the jacket. It’ll all make sense when you reach page 252.

Client: Freehand Books
Author: Michael Hingston
Publication Date: September 2013
Awards: Honourable Mention, Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada 2014 (Prose Fiction category) & Winner of the 2014 Book Publishers Association of Alberta Award for Book Design