Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Reader Emily Martin

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Emily Martin

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.

Emily Martin's Bio: I believe we should all aspire to be Carl Sagan. But, since I look terrible in turtlenecks and I couldn't stop reading articles about jellyfish or new translations of Beowulf when I should have been working on my PhD research, I have settled for being wildly happy as a gad-about and dinner party hostess on an silver skied island in the North Atlantic.

I am...waiting for Alice's rabbit hole to open before me

I am known and friends and no one else

I do this in...4 dimensions and a very limited band of wavelengths

I do this because...I do not want to hurry death, and something has to be done in the meantime

I do this when I...take a minute to look up from reading

The way I do this taking what I have read with me once I finally do look up.

At his/her core, a Writer is...,through folly or bravery, someone who decides to listen to the sound of their own voice for longer than it takes to think a passing thought.

As opposed to an Author, who is...or has been convinced to become, a writer loud enough for all of us to hear.

A Writer is responsible for...keeping his journal locked if he doesn't want feedback or company.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for...every bad decision leading to every good adventure I have had.

At its core, Publishing is...a bullhorn attached to a white van that may or may not include my street on its route.

As opposed to Editing, which is...axe-hewn (and then scalpel wielding) artistry. The crucial, negative space of writing/authorship.

A Publisher should a diplomat and a businessman looking through a very wide lens.

As opposed to an Editor, who should always...focus on the work they are carving and polishing.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is...stripped of small, personal references and sentimentalities

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is...not as floppy as a manuscript so I can read it in the bath.

A Manuscript should found by accident in a bathroom stall, covered with coffee ring stains.

As opposed to a Book, which should chosen

At its core, Bookselling is...local

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is...beyond me

The smallest unit of narrative is...A man walked into a bar...

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is...because the rabbit hole may open right in front of me through the pavement any minute now.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is...I might die before it does or have built such a rich life right here that I hesitate a second too long before falling into it.

In the future we will too dead to realize and rue that there never was a point.

At his/her core, a Reader escapist

However, the ideal Reader is...bringing everyone around them on their escapades.

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