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Q&A with Patrick deWitt

CBC Books recently asked the shortlisted Scotiabank Giller Prize authors some questions about their literary inspirations. Here we have Patrick deWitt, the author of The Sisters Brothers. His book follows two outlaws in the West during the gold rush era as they seek out a man they were hired to kill.


To read an excerpt from the novel, click here.

Q: What's your favourite bookish place in Canada?

PD: The West Vancouver library, where as a boy I read Choose Your Own Adventure books and all the Asterix & Obelix comics. Later, there was the downtown Vancouver library, where I discovered Knut Hamsun and John Fante among many others. I may still have outstanding fines there, actually.
Q: Which Canadian author (alive or dead) would you most like to meet? Why?

PD: I'll say Saul Bellow, because I'm currently working on an "older man looking back at his life" type book, and I could use some pointers from the author of Herzog

Q: Who is your favourite fictional character and why?

PD: This is an impossible question! But, I'll go ahead and say Jakob von Gunten, the protagonist from the novel of the same name, written by Robert Walser. He's my favourite for his tireless, manic energy, his observational ability, and for the depths of his black humour.
Q: What would you be if you weren't a writer?

PD: The most boring man on the face of the earth. 
Q: What book has moved or affected you most in the past year?

PD: I just finished a book called Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter that surprised me time and again. It's the story of wayward Oregonian youth in the late '40s through to the '60s, and it's right on the money. Tender without being maudlin, terrifying but also very funny at times. I really admired it.

We'll be posting more Q&As in the weeks to come. In the meantime, check out the responses from our other shortlisted authors.


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