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Nicolas Dickner, author

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Nicolas Dickner's first novel, Nikolski, was greeted with delight by readers, reviewers and award juries alike. In 2008, when the English translation is published, Dickner sits down with Tim Belford of CBC Radio's Quebec AM to chat about the process of writing. In this interview, Dickner describes the slow work of accumulating stories, characters, ideas and symbols, then the relatively quick process of cutting back until a "self-sustaining structure" emerges.
• Nicolas Dickner was born in Rivière-du-Loup, Que. in 1972. As of 2009 he lived in Montreal.
  • In 2000, Dickner published an award-winning collection of short stories, L'encyclopédie du petit cercle. The critical success of this collection led to a grant from Quebec's Conseil des Arts et des Lettres for a writing residency in Germany, where he worked on Nikolski. His second novel, Tarmac, was released in French in 2009.

Nikolski's translator, Lazer Lederhendler, was awarded the 2008 Governor General's Award for French-to-English translation and the 2009 Quebec Writer's Federation translation prize.

Nikolski took four years to write, and went through eight versions before it was ready for publication. It is Dickner's first novel.

• In a 2008 CBC Radio interview on Montreal's Radio Noon, Dickner describes his work on an archeological dig in Spain in 1998 where he became fascinated by the lessons of archeology: the idea that everything ends up as garbage, and that from our garbage we can know a society. All of the principal characters in Nikolski reflect this: one is a dumpster diver collecting discarded computer components, one has to sort through the detritus of his mother's life, and one sifts through garbage as a would-be archeologist.

Nikolski won the 2010 edition of CBC Radio's book competition Canada Reads. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Quebec AM
Broadcast Date: March 28, 2008
Guest(s): Nicolas Dickner
Resource: Tim Belford
Duration: 6:47

Last updated: November 29, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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