Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Lynn Coady on the power of Grease and good snacks

The​ ​author​ ​of​ ​Who Needs Books?​ ​answers​ ​eight​ ​questions​ ​submitted​ ​by​ ​eight other​ ​authors.
Lynn Coady is the author of Who Needs Books?: Reading in the Digital Age. (CBC)

It takes a curious person to question their modus operandi for almost two decades. Well, Lynn Coady is really, really curious. In Who Needs Books?, the author of four critically beloved novels and two short story collections (including the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning Hellgoing) confronts our most pervasive fears about the fate of books in the digital age. The book was originally a lecture given by Coady for the CLC Kreisel Lecture Series, which was broadcast on CBC's Ideas. You can listen to that here.

Below, Lynn Coady answers eight questions submitted by eight of her fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A.

1. Lorna Crozier asks, "If you could write in any room anywhere in the world, besides your own writing room, where would that be? Please describe it." 

All I want or have ever wanted in such a room is a window that looks out onto a body of water. Ocean ideally, but I wouldn't turn my nose up at a lake.

2. Tomson Highway asks, "Do you ever get jealous of other writers? If so, why?" 

Sometimes I get jealous of writers who clearly enjoy, and thrive on, being the centre of attention. I feel like it would help with the PR side of things.

3. Claire Holden Rothman asks, "What kind of a child were you that you grew up to write fiction? What were the formative influences?" 

I just wanted to suck the stories out of everything. So my earliest writerly influences were 1. Television; 2. My dad's way with an obscene anecdote and the mysterious snatches of songs he'd occasionally sing that I've to this day never heard anywhere else; 3. Elementary school teachers who read chapters of YA novels out loud to us every day in class; 4. Barbies; 5. The Catholic Church; 6. the soundtrack to the movie Grease

4. Bill Richardson asks, "Have you ever regretted dedicating a book to someone?"

My fourth book, dedicated to my ex, came out just as we were breaking up.

5. Tracey Lindberg asks, "Who, from literary Canada, is your dream Trivial Pursuit partner?" 

Marina Endicott, but mostly because she's just nice to hang out with for an evening and she has the best snacks. That said, she's also read 10 times more books than anyone else I've ever met, so she's always good for an obscure fact or two.

6. Yann Martel asks, "Is there a Great Book that you actually hate? Why?"

I hated Stoner by John Williams. I thought the titular character was a tool.

7. Heather O'Neill asks, "If there were to be a biopic made about your life, which actor would you want to play you? Which director would you choose to direct?"

I would choose Helena Bonham Carter because we are of a similar complexion and she had practice doing a Cape Breton accent when she was in Margaret's Museum. J.J. Abrams would direct.

8. Susan Juby asks, "What has been the most pleasurable or exciting moment in your writing life thus far?"

Any day that I have to myself to do nothing but write is my best day, both pleasurable and exciting. My favourite thing about my writing life has always been the process itself — the fact that I get to do it.