Longreads Guest Pick: Shannon Proudfoot on 'The King Of The Ferret Leggers'

Shannon Proudfoot is a staff writer at Sportsnet magazine. Previously, she was a national writer with Postmedia News.

“It might not constitute a genre, exactly, but my favorite sort of journalism dives into obscure subcultures with their own rules, etiquette, heroes and hacks. This story is one of my all-time favorites of that type. The main character is unforgettable, perfectly drawn with a few brilliant details and vernacular dialogue. And the writing just crackles—clever, cheeky and nimble, but never getting in the way. Read this snippet and just try not to smirk: ‘Reg pulled the now quite embittered-looking ferret out of his mouth and stuffed it and another ferret into his pants. He cinched his belt tight, clenched his fists at his sides, and gazed up into the gray Yorkshire firmament in what I guessed could only be a gesture of prayer.’ It would have been easy to go for the cheap laugh at the expense of the odd in a story like this, but Donald Katz’s obvious affection for his subject pushes this into a sublime little realm for me.”

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