Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Hannah Sung

Share |
The Questionless Books Interview: Hannah Sung

Inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, The Questionless Books Interview gets a host of lit-types (authors, editors, publishers, publicists, designers, booksellers, readers, bloggers, journalists, etc.) to finish a bunch of statements about the state of literature and the "future of books".

Hannah Sung is an avid reader, writer, former MuchMusic and CBC broadcaster, and the former host of CBC Books. She is also (un)healthily engaged with National Novel Writing Month, which she's turned into a sort of Write-a-thon for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Hannah's links:

National Novel Writing Month
The Dare

I am... a writer, of journalism and fiction (which is truthier?).

I am known to... type really fast. Especially now as I attempt NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. I am attempting to write 50 000 words in 30 days to raise my fund-raising goal of $5000 (all aboard!)

I do this in... Brooklyn for now. I'm taking part in the Writers' Institute at the Graduate Center of CUNY. After that, I'll be back in my regular hometown of Toronto.

I do this because... it's a challenge. The Dare is a really huge challenge in that I must write, write, write and not edit, if I want to make my daily quota of words. 50 000 words in just 30 days seemed insurmountable until I started chipping away at it, one day (or 1666.666 words) at a time. I'm happy to put my ten fingers towards a good cause.

I do this when I... am not sleeping, i.e. all the time. I take small breaks for reading and a few nights a week, I'll sneak in a DVD of The Wire. Other than that, all-the-time.

The way I do this is... writing all morning, trying to fit in email and work, writing all afternoon, reading little bits while I hover over my cereal at breakfast or a sandwich at lunch, going to class in the evening. Sleep and repeat.

At its core, a Writer is... someone who gets things said on paper (or pixels!). They are doers, although most of that work gets done by sitting still.

As opposed to an Author, who is... someone who is talked about as an important writer of things. That important thing(s) probably first appeared on paper, not the internet. Just sayin'.

A Writer is responsible for... making themselves clear, taking the reader somewhere.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for... a finished body of work.

At its core, Publishing is... getting the words out to the people! Making sure everyone gets remunerated in the process!

As opposed to Editing, which is... half the battle for any writer. On any given piece, the writer should always be editing, the editor should never be writing. Even though both work together, that's just the way it goes.

A Publisher should always... appreciate the work they publish.

As opposed to an Editor, who should always... know what's going on elsewhere.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is... still going to be rewritten, surely.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is... really ready!

A Manuscript should always... be the vision of the writer.

As opposed to a Book, which should always... have a reader in mind.

At its core, Bookselling is... a tough gig for independents but keep on keeping on!

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is... going online. Book trailers - what's next?

The smallest unit of narrative is... a sound.

To be a Book a thing must be... reminiscent of pages that turn, if not composed of paper anymore, and have a beginning, middle and end.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is... it's where you die. Kidding! No reason to be scared of the future. Really.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is... more future means more time means more books to read and many more worlds to visit, in real life and in those miles and miles of future books.

In the future we will all... have some hazy recollection, if not of what we are doing today then some day around today. Then sometime further on in the future, all our memories will be gone. All that will be left will be stories we've left behind. In the past, we left those stories on paper, on cave walls. In the future, who knows?

At his/her core, a Reader is... curious, always learning.

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.

Related item from our archives

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