Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist Michael Winter

Share |
The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist Michael Winter

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.

Michael Winter is the author of The Death of Donna Whalen, which is available as a paperback Penguin for twenty bucks. He lives in a caravan. (Photo credit: Stephen Crocker)

Michael's Links:

Anansi Books

I am a writer.

I am known to write things down.

I do this in public places.

I do this because I have a bad memory.

I do this when I overhear a curious thing or if an event or gesture happens before me that I haven’t seen in print before; for instance, I just saw a man tip a paper cup up to his mouth and rattle the ice cubes against his teeth.
The way I do this is I take out my bank passbook and a hotel pen and write the event down as I see/hear it, not as I understand it with hindsight.

At his/her core, a Writer is full of seeds.

As opposed to an Author, who is showing off his/her foliage.

At its core, Publishing is the distribution of a private voice.

As opposed to Editing, which is encouraging that private voice into a written form that can be communicated to a stranger.

A Publisher should always shake a lot of hands and talk passionately about his/her authors.

As opposed to an Editor, who should try to see the spirit of his/her writer and make sure the manuscript has that spirit solidly implanted in it.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is a rare thing and should be celebrated in heavily-populated valleys, in deadend hollers, placed on top of the hotel bible supplied by the Gideons, and carried onto open elevators reaching their maximum Otis-approved load limit.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be read by others, which is crying out for the appropriate jacket image and copy and buzz.

A Manuscript should always be divided into chapters and stored in separate files on your computer, so youre not always facing page one and rewriting the opening scene of the damn thing.

As opposed to a Book, which should always be open, and read, and passed to friends, and dogeared, and underlined, and carried on horses, and left in refrigerators with the saws and hammers, and even sliced vertically in half and used in decorative bookshelves.

At its core, Bookselling is all about sizing up a customer’s character.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is coaxing the round peg your dealt with into the square hole you think might exist down the road.

The smallest unit of narrative is interior thought.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is it’s less of a shock when you realize you should be at the airport.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is living with enormous grief.

In the future we will all look back on this and shake our heads.

At his/her core, a Reader is having a conversation.

However, the ideal Reader is disturbed to have read you.

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