Q: Which Canadian author (alive or dead) would you most like to meet? Why?
This year, 17 Canadian authors made it to the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the country's richest literary award for fiction. To get some further insight into their work and their inspirations, CBC Books asked the longlisted authors a series of questions. As the prize jury debates which books will be named to the shortlist, we'll be posting our Q&As for you to enjoy.
Here we have Alexi Zentner, author of Touch.
Q: Pitch Canada your novel in three lines or less.
Alexi Zentner: A pastor returning home to his dying mother has to confront the ghosts of his childhood, the memories of his mythic grandfather, and the magic and mysteries of the north woods. Also, it's a love story. And though it's a novel full of wonder, Touch is also scary and terrifying in places, full of monsters and witches. And the book will break your heart. But that's four sentences.
Q: Which Giller-longlisted book (other than your own!) would you like to see take home the prize?
AZ: The longlist is kind of stunning, but it's difficult to choose since I already admired the work of many of these authors before the list came out. Part of the power of literary prizes like the Scotiabank Giller Prize, however, is to help bring attention to authors who aren't already part of the national consciousness, and so, if I had to chose a book other than my own, I'd probably pick a debut author with a book that deserved more exposure, like Michael Christie's The Beggar's Garden. Though, that being said, I think that all of these books on this list deserve more exposure.
Q: What's your favourite bookish place in Canada?
AZ: One of my oldest friends has a cottage on Smoke Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, and it's one of my favorite places in the world. Though I like to swim there despite the coldness of the water and there are some stunning places to hike, I almost enjoy it more when it's raining and chilly and the bugs are fierce enough so that I have every excuse to sit by the fire and just read. There's a quiet isolation that I love. There's no power, no running water, just propane and a hand pump, a wood stove, a fireplace, and the too many books that I always bring.