D.W. Wilson takes the Magic 8
8 random questions. From Canadian writers. To Canadian writers.
How does it work? We asked some of our favourite Canadian authors for the questions they always wished they were asked. We put those questions into a hat, randomly pull out 8, and send them to other Canadian writers who are up to the challenge. Every Magic 8 is different.
3. Shyam Selvadurai asks, “Writers often use their own life as a springboard for fiction. Could you relate a real incident in your life and then tell us how it got changed into fiction?”
This one’s easy. My old man went peacekeeping to Kosovo in 2003, when I was eighteen, and when I was sixteen I fought him in a judo tournament. The opening story in my collection is about a sixteen-year-old who fights his dad in a judo tournament the day before he flies to Kosovo; I just merged the two events into one.
A while ago I’d have said eighties rock, but my favourite songwriters are strong lyricists, and as much as I hate to admit it, I’m not sure Def Lep ever produced anything truly profound. Maybe country rock like Ryan Adams or that hard-to-define alternative/rock/sometimes-folky music you get from a band like The National. I don’t know that I’m secretly a songwriter, because I’m no good at condensing emotions down like that—it’s too much like magic.
I haven’t really thought about it in these terms (and it’s all very new to me) but after my collection came out I found myself unable to write for months, because every time I heard any praise or any variation of “I can’t wait for the novel” it added another week to me getting back to the grindstone. Basically, I cracked under the pressure.
8. Drew Hayden Taylor asks, “Do you think you or your books would have been successful, say... fifty or a hundred years ago? Or has the style of writing changed too much in the passing decades?”
D.W. Wilson was born and raised in the small towns of the Kootenay Valley, British Columbia. He is the recipient of the University of East Anglia's inaugural Man Booker Prize Scholarship—the most prestigious award available to students in the MA program. His stories have appeared in literary magazines across Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, including The Malahat Review, Grain, and Southword. In 2011 he won the BBC National Short Story Award, along with being shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. He lives in London.