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Q&A: Alix Ohlin

ohlin_alix.jpgTo celebrate this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, we asked each longlisted author a series of questions to help us gain insight into their work and their thoughts on the craft of writing. Here is Alix Ohlin, author of Inside:
Q: What inspired you to write Inside?

A: One day as I was writing, a scene appeared in my head: a woman cross-country skiing alone on Mount Royal at dusk comes across a man in trouble, and tries to help him. Who are these people? What happens next? I wrote the whole book, in a way, to find out.

Q: What would you say is at the core of your book?

A: Inside is about three people whose lives intersect over the course of 10 years, as each of them endures moments of crisis. It's about the impulse to help other people, the importance and limitations of that impulse, and how it brings us humanity even if we don't always succeed.

Q: If your book was being made into a movie, which actors could you envision taking on the main characters?

A: I would love for Sarah Polley to be involved somehow, either as an actor or director. I so admire everything she does.

Q: Which Scotiabank Giller-longlisted book (other than your own!) would you most like to see take home the prize?
A: I can't answer this, because I haven't read them all yet!  But I very much look forward to doing so.  A great thing about the longlist is how it introduces us to writers whose work is new to us.

inside.jpgQ: Where is the absolute best place for you to write?

A: Anywhere accompanied by a strong cup of coffee. Without coffee there is nothing.

Q: Is there a specific subject matter, event or location close to your heart that'd you love to write about in the future?
A: I'm superstitious about discussing things I haven't written yet. Until they're on the page, I worry that my ideas will lose their mystery and collapse into dust.

Q: What book has moved or affected you most in the past year?

A: The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn -- elegant, brutal, funny books about an imperfect man's tortured life.

Q: What is one insight into the craft of writing or the writing life that you wish you'd known much earlier?
A: That the writing life doesn't have to be lonely. There is a community of writers and readers out there -- now more connected through social media than ever -- who care deeply about literature.

Read more longlisted author Q&As


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