Jen Currin, kevin mcpherson eckhoff, Alan Reed, Thom Vernon, and Rachel Zolf will all be reading from their latest works at the Coach House Spring 2010 launch tonight (scroll down for details). To mark the occasion Books@Torontoist made these authors fill out a brief questionnaire. We’ll print one a day until it’s party time.
What’s your book about and what makes it unique?
My book is about what comes after a love story. It is unique for its very short sentences, near total absence of adjectives, and liberal use of puppets.
Which fictional literary character is your favourite?
Lucas, from Agota Kristof’s The Proof. I found a copy of The Proof in a remainder bin when I was in high school and it’s stayed with me since. The book is a large part of why I decided that stark miniminalism would be a good idea for my own book, and Lucas has this inexplicable, unwavering sureness about him that amazes me. Jakob von Gunten and Don Quixote would be next up.
Who are some of your greatest writing influences?
Critical theory should probably be first up on the list, because I am a geek for that sort of thing: Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irrigaray, Maurice Blanchot–but mostly Roland Barthes. There are an ecclectic bunch of writers. I will try to keep this short and I will not mention Roland Barthes again, even though I want to: Beckett, Artaud, and Kafka, Gaetan Soucy and Matthew Remski; nathalie stephens, Marguerite Duras, Kathy Acker, and Jeanette Winterson; Leonard Cohen and Anne Carson; Peter Milligan, Alessandro Baricco, Eric Chevillard, and the aforementioned Agota Kristof. And lately (in the past year) I have been reading Haruki Murakami, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Marie Redonnet, Virginia Woolf, and Heidegger, and soon I will be making a brief foray into Proust.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Writing’s not something that you can figure out by thinking about or talking about; there’s something magical and necessary that happens when you’re in the moment actually doing it. Figure that out, learn how to learn from it, and you’re set.
What’s your favourite bookish spot?
I am one for a good cup of coffee in a raucous cafe. I am not that picky as to which cafe–lately it has been either Cagibi or L’Escalier. I get my coffee, I sit down with a book, and I spend an afternoon alternately reading and watching people.
What do you love about Toronto?
Gwartzman’s Art Supplies on Spadina. The best place I’ve ever found to buy notebooks. Anytime I’m in town, I end up leaving with an armful of them. The Tequila Bookworm, even though it hasn’t been the same since I moved away from Toronto and they renovated. (Sometimes, I do not deal so gracefully with change.) And I used to love Pages. Sigh.
Keep Toronto Reading is all about spreading literary love in this city. What book would you recommend to Torontonians?
On The Ceiling by Eric Chevillard. It’s about a man who has decided, as a matter of princliple, to wear a chair upside down upon his head at all times. It may be a bit hard to track down, but it is well worth the effort. Chevillard is dazzlingly clever and in possession of a wickedly absurd sense of humour.
Why should people come to the Coach House launch?
Why would anyone in their right mind not come?
Coach House Books’ Spring 2010 launch will take place at Revival (783 College Street) on Wednesday, April 28th. Doors open at 8 p.m.