Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist and Screenwriter Tony Burgess

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Tony Burgess

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.

Tony Burgess writes fiction and screenplays. He was nominated for Genie Award for the screen adaptation of his second novel Pontypool Changes Everything. He has won the Relit Award twice for Fiction for Lovers and Ravenna Gets. His latest novel Idaho Winter is shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award. He lives in Stayner, with his wife, Rachel and their two kids, Griffin and Camille.

Tony's Links:


I am...doing the answerless interview.

I am known to...furtively undermine myself.

I do this in...a pretended blind.

I do this because...I have no idea what’s out there.

I do this when I...want to be here.

The way I do this is...not be here for long

At his/her core, a Writer is...probably not me. I often use writing though.

As opposed to an Author, who is...a word, frankly, I can’t recall using. It feels like an archaic word. It’d be like saying Jesus and actually meaning savior.

A Writer is responsible for...well, I’m not sure that they should be.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for...being a bit of a dick, I imagine.

At its core, Publishing is...finding some people you wanna work with.

As opposed to Editing, which is...not opposed but more specific, finding people who know what you’re trying to do.

A Publisher should always...enjoy what they do.

As opposed to an Editor, who should what you’re trying to do.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others that hasn’t had the chance to talk to anyone yet but is anxious to.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is...much less important than thinking about how you want to do this next time.

A Manuscript should willful and quick.

As opposed to a Book, which should always...look back wistfully on the days it was a wild eyed manuscript. It should say to buyers – you shoulda known me then.

At its core, Bookselling is...what some of my best friends and favourite writers do.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is...not one freakin’ clue. Not the same as it was, I guess. Not the same as it will be?

The smallest unit of narrative is...infinitely small so, probably, can also be the largest.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future damn kids can rub my feet and fix my ‘do.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is...I might be totally bald and have no feet. Just raggedy ass stumps. “C’mon kids, pat some warm water on stumpy.”

In the future we will all...fall down.

At his/her core, a Reader is...not a writer at the time of reading. Hazardous to suspension of disbeliefs.

However, the ideal Reader is...anyone with a more compelling argument for the book than I had writing it.

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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