The Next Chapter·Dog-eared Reads

Heidi Sopinka isn't afraid of re-reading Virginia Woolf

The Toronto author of The Dictionary of Animal Languages loves re-reading 1927 novel To the Lighthouse and other classic books by the modernist 20th-century author.
Heidi Sopinka is a Toronto-based writer and editor. (Arden Wray, Macmillan Collector's Library)

This interview originally aired on March 28, 2020.

Heidi Sopinka is a Toronto-based writer, editor and designer. Her debut 2018 novel, The Dictionary of Animal Languages, features an artist in her 90s who is illustrating a glossary of animal sounds.

Sopinka describes herself as "a big re-reader." The author that she turns to time and time again is Virginia Woolf. 

She stopped by The Next Chapter to explain why.

"One author that I often reread is Virginia Woolf. I've read To the Lighthouse a bajillion times and I always find something new about that book. I'm always amazed that, for instance, for a certain portion she puts the entire book to sleep. 

It's utterly gripping, every single time I read it.

"It's 30 pages where these incredible things happen within square brackets. I just marvel at her sentences and how she's able to get the consciousnesses of several characters in the book. It's utterly gripping, every single time I read it."

Heidi Sopinka's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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