Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Canada Council Literary Officer and Writer Paul Seesequasis

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The Questionless Books Interview: Canada Council Literary Officer and Writer Paul Seesequasis

In The Questionless Books Interview, I get a whole bunch of books people (from authors to editors to publishers to sales/publicity/production people, booksellers, designers, librarians, readers, etc) to "answer" a series of unspoken "questions". The results highlight a delightful mix of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector: from doom and gloom to sunshine and rainbows, and every irony in between.

Paul Seesequasis spent 13 years at The Canada Council for the Arts as a literary arts officer. Prior to that he was the recipient of a Maclean-Hunter Scholarship in Journalism, founding editor of the award-winning Aboriginal Voices magazine, author of The Republic of Tricksterism, and a journalist covering aboriginal affairs. Last year he published his first novella, Tobacco Wars (Quattro Books, 2010). He is currently engaged on a new novel and a graphic novel collaboration, based on the Pop Wuj, with 2011 Guggenheim fellow Jesus Mora. He currently lives a semi-reclusive existence, somewhere in the hills of Gatineau and, when not splitting logs, he writes.

Paul's Links:

Quattro Books

I am...a writer, semi-recluse and ex-cultural bureaucrat (the latter two often go together).

I am known to...many but if I forget their names, I do remember their faces.

I do this in...the woods, sitting on rocks with a notebook (the paper-kind) and, when thirsty, the Chateau Lafayette in the market.

I do this because...I told my girlfriend long ago I was a writer and didn't want to also be a liar.

I do this when...she emails and asks if I am writing.

The way I do this pacing, talking to myself, lying on my back, and avoiding Facebook.

At his/her core, a Writer is...someone who manages to avoid Facebook.

As opposed to an Author, who is...someone who is always self-promo-ing on Facebook.

A Writer is responsible for...staying off social networking sites.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for...staying on social networking sites.

At its core, Publishing ancient, mysterious order of the devoted few, such as Beatriz Hausner, who toil by candlielight, keeping the flickering light of enlightenment alive in our darkening times.

As opposed to Editing, which is...Adeena Karasick turning my swine into pearls.

A Publisher should always...wake up amazed they are still in business.

As opposed to an Editor, who should grateful they live far enough away to not witness the pacing, the self-talk (as she does).

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is...probably not.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be read by others, which is...regrettably not.

A Manuscript should always...contain unbridled dreams, limitless ambition, the hope that yes - this is truly great.

As opposed to a Book, which should always...say OK it's not bad.

At its core, Bookselling is...that empty storefront or designer-clothing store that triggers a sad, nostalgic feeling that once there was a bookstore here.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is...those bound paper things that take up floor space between the candles and special toiletries.

The smallest unit of narrative is...the pause waiting for what's next.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is...your next book will be better than you ever dreamed.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future, in fact, will be, and you will never top it.

In the future we will text on phones and speak on computers (oh wait...)

At his/her core, a Reader intelligent, perceptive human being, infused with a limitless desire to exist beyond the seductive flash and instant gratifications of pop-visual cultures and gadgets, and to let their own mind do the work for them, through an interior process unique to the reader, by reading text on a page. This person must be fearless, unafraid of solitude, and able to transport themselves solely on their singular, constructed, personal world.

However, the ideal Reader is...someone who buys the damn thing.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website

Go to George Murray’s Author Page