Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Randy Boyagoda on his favourite Marvel superhero and the epic poem he's been reading continuously for 2 years

Randy Boyagoda, author of Original Prin, takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A.
Randy Boyagoda is the author of Original Prin. (Biblioasis/Chris Donovan)

Randy Boyagoda's new novel Original Prin begins as Prin, a 40-year-old professor, vows to become a better man in light of his cancer diagnosis. But when his college faces closure, Prin hears the voice of God and embarks on a soul searching journey to the Middle East with his ex-girlfriend Wende in tow.

Below, Boyagoda, who is also a columnist on CBC Radio's The Next Chapter, takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A and answers eight questions from eight fellow authors.

1. Zsuzsi Gartner asks, "How do faith and science intersect for you as a writer?"

We seek evidence of God in the world around us, searching for the cause through the effects. Science does the same. There's a beautiful harmony to that. The divinity (and sometimes the devil) is in the details.

2. Ian Brown asks, "Do you get dressed to write? Or do you get to the computer as fast as you can?"

With four children and a day job, I write wherever and whenever, wearing whatever and whomever (I have written, yes, with sleeping children on me… the original wearable!).

3. Frances Itani asks, "Describe a walk that would and could feed your imagination and your writing. In what part of the world would this walk take place?"

Two places come to mind: first, a walk around the village of Boyagoda, in Sri Lanka… 'nuff said? Second, a walk around an old church, basically anywhere in the world — making sense of its various kinds of continuities, and of who else is in there on any given Sunday, feeds my imagination.

4. Cynthia Flood asks, "What other genre would you like to write in, if you could?"

We have two mortgages. Premium television, please!

5. Ryan North asks, "What's your favourite superhero and why? You can't choose Batman. He's MY favourite."

My favourite super-hero is Hawkeye, from The Avengers, because my youngest daughter insists I be him when we play-fight… the best part is that she pronounces his name "Hot Guy," which does a lot for my self-esteem.

6. Janet Rogers asks, "How much personal information comes out as confession in your writing?"

This is a great question. A friend of mine who has known me since I was eight recently read my new novel, Original Prin, which is by far my most personal and autobiographical novel. He told me that beyond the obvious parallels of life and situation, what interested him most was the question of how true, or real, were the protagonist's thoughts and prayers — whose were they, Prin's, or mine? Until he posed that question, I didn't realize how merged-together — in those areas, at least — my personal experiences were with what I had written.

7. Sheena Kamal asks, "Is there a piece of art — be it a book, poem, painting, song, sculpture or what have you — that you come back to again and again as a source of inspiration?"

I've been reading Dante's Divine Comedy continuously for two years and have no plans to stop.

8. Scaachi Koul asks, "Is there any piece of writing you wrote in your past that you now regret?"

That really nasty and gratuitously negative, downright ad hominem review of Scaachi Koul's person and work … KIDDING!


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