The Next Chapter·Dog-Eared Books

When The Boat People author Sharon Bala has a writing problem, she turns to this book

The St. John's-based author talks about why she keeps coming back to Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction.
Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People. (CBC, University of Chicago Press)

This interview originally aired on Sept. 28, 2019.

Sharon Bala was born in Dubai and currently lives in St. John's. Her novel The Boat People was defended by Mozhdah Jamalzadah on Canada Reads 2018.

The book she loves reading over and over again is the classic Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway.

"For those of us who are writers, this book is the closest thing we have to a textbook. My copy is highlighted and dog-eared and has notes in the margins.

"Whenever I'm stuck and I don't know what to do next — or there's a problem with the story I'm working with and don't know how to fix it — I turn to Janet Burroway's book and look for the answer.

"More often than not, there's something there that helps."

Sharon Bala's comments have been edited for length and clarity.


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