The Next Chapter·Dog-Eared Reads

Why Anakana Schofield feels inspired reading this sourcebook by Samuel Beckett

The Irish-Canadian shares why she rereads Samuel Beckett's notebook about his first novel, but not his works.
Anakana Schofield is an Irish-Canadian author of novels Martin John, Malarky and Bina. (Arabella Campbell, AFP/AFP via Getty Images)

Anakana Schofield is an accomplished novelist based in British Columbia. Schofield's latest 2019 novel is BinaShe was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller prize in 2015 for her novel Martin John and won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award in 2013, then called the First Novel Award, for her novel Malarky.

One book that she loves re-reading is Beckett's Dream Notebook, a sourcebook that includes the notes of late Irish novelist, playwright and short story writer Samuel Beckett in the creation of his first full-length novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women.

Schofield stopped by The Next Chapter to discuss why she is a fan of Beckett's Dream Notebook.

"The University of Reading published one of Samuel Beckett's notebooks based on his very first novel that he wrote called Dream of Fair to Middling Women.

It is a list of things that he wrote: words, quotes, quite arbitrary stuff.

"It's a beautiful looking book. It is a list of things that he wrote: words, quotes, quite arbitrary stuff. Whenever I look at that book — it is slightly like a dictionary of the inside of somebody's mind, but with no explanations — I get reassured because I see Beckett as interested in Napoleon and language.

"There's so many references to language in it. You can see where they went on and into the novel. I actually avoid reading his work — but I always look at that particular notebook."

Anakana Schofield's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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