CBC Books recently asked the shortlisted Scotiabank Giller Prize authors some questions about their literary inspirations. Here we have Zsuzsi Gartner, the author of Better Living Through Plastic Explosives. To read an excerpt from her short story collection, click here.
Q: Who is your favourite fictional character and why?
Q: Pitch Canada your story collection in three lines or less.
ZG: Dear Canada, forget everything you've ever heard, read, or personally experienced of Vancouver. Or take all that and amplify it by several hundred decibels and you'll have Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, a journey through the heart of darkness that is the wet coast, accompanied by dire laughter, and a cast of characters that includes an AWOL movie director, an Olympic-mascot-suited kidnapper, a recovering terrorist-turned-master gardener, one of the greatest motivational speakers of New Amerika, and five naughty celestial beings.
Q: What's your favourite bookish place in Canada?
ZG: My favourite bookstore is Vancouver Kid's Books; my favourite "bookish" milieu has to be the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts.
Q: Which Canadian author (alive or dead) would you most like to meet? Why?
ZG: Leonard Cohen. Because of any Canadian writer he's come closest to the sacred without losing his wit. (And he's Leonard Cohen!) And Elise Levine, whose remarkable first book, Driving Men Mad, was such an inspiration to me.
We'll be posting more Q&As in the weeks to come. In the meantime, check out the responses from our other shortlisted authors.