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Q&A: Annabel Lyon



lyon_annabel.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 we have Annabel Lyon, author of The Sweet Girl.
 
Q: What inspired you to write The Sweet Girl?

A: Aristotle's will, which is a real historical document. It's a rare glimpse into his personality as a father and husband and head of a household. He expresses so much love and concern for the people around him, and what will happen to them all after his death. He worries about the marriage of his daughter, Pythias; he wants his companion, Herpyllis, to remarry if she so chooses; he provides for all his slaves, including the freeing of some in thanks for their lifelong service to him. This novel tries to imagine what happened to that household after his death.

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

A: For me it's about the relationship between love and self-reliance, love of others and the need for solitude.

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

A: Aristotle: David Thewlis

Herpyllis: Catherine Keener

Pythias: I don't know. She's young, awkward, not unusually pretty, and highly intelligent. Most actors are more poised and polished than I imagine her to be.

Q: Which Scotiabank Giller Prize-longlisted book (other than your own!) would you most like to see take home the prize?

A: I haven't read the other books yet, so I can't answer this one.

Q: Where is the absolute best place for you to write?

A: Somewhere clean and relatively quiet, without too many distractions. Library, coffee shop, office on campus at UBC, at home once the kids are in bed...I'm pretty flexible.

Q: Is there a specific subject matter, event or location close to your heart that you would love to write about in the future?

A: I want to set my next book in contemporary Vancouver.

the_sweet_girl.jpgQ: What book has moved or affected you most in the past year?

A: Anakana Schofield's Malarky. It's a novel of grief and sex and humour and anger and so much else. Rich and challenging and ambitious and incredibly rewarding.

Q: What is one insight into the craft of writing or the writing life that you wish you'd known much earlier?

A: Treat it like a job. Learn your craft, put in the hours whether you feel like it or not, and get a little bit done each day.

Read more longlist Q&As

 


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