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Q&A: Marjorie Celona

marjorie_celona-125.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 novel and their thoughts on the craft of writing. Here's what Marjorie Celona, author of Y, had to say.

Check back throughout the coming weeks for more Q&As. You can read last week's post featuring this year's Readers' Choice winner Peggy Blair.

Q: What inspired you to write Y?

A: A fascination with the letter itself -- its shape, its sound -- and then a first line: "My life begins at the Y."  I didn't know what it meant at first. I wrote the story to find out.

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

A: The most important thing at the core of Y is Shannon.  All else just spins around her.

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

A: This is the most fun question I've ever been asked. Okay. The closest I've seen to Shannon on film was Karen Fergusson playing the young Janet Frame in An Angel at My Table. Pam Grier as Miranda. Chris Cooper as Vaughn.

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

A: Hold on, let me just read the 12 other books.  In the meantime, based on nothing but excerpts I found on the web, Russell Wangersky's Whirl Away.

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

A: In bed.

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

A: At great risk of pathetic fallacy, I love writing about storms. I gave in to this desire recently and wrote a story about a geomagnetic storm for Harvard Review. I'm eager to do it again.  Nothing is as wonderful to me as a big, crazy storm.

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

A: The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I reread this summer.  It is a perfect novel, with a perfect ending.

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

A: None. The pleasure of writing -- when I first started, that is -- was knowing nothing about it at all.


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