Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

GG Awards Series: The Dirty Dozen with Nicolas Billon

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Nicolas Billon

Today we are wrapping up our celebration of the 2013 Governor General's Literary Awards by speaking with the winner of the Drama category, Toronto's own Nicolas Billon.

His darkly humorous three play collection, Fault Lines: Greenland — Iceland — Faroe Islands (Coach House Books) wowed both critics and the GG judges.

After his win, Nicolas kept the surprises coming by pledging to donate $5,000 from his $25,000 winnings to The Theatre Centre. The donation will be part of the organization’s current Indiegogo campaign in support of its renovation of a new building and move to a permanent home. Nicolas has a long-standing relationship with The Theatre Centre and Artistic Director in Residence, Ravi Jain.

The generous donation will be made in his parents’ name. About his decision, Nicolas said: “Today, I am in a position to give back. Some of the most exciting art I've seen has been at The Theatre Centre, a leading incubator of new work, and they are in the midst of building a permanent home. I will be contributing $5,000 of my GG prize to their capital campaign.”

Today, we speak with Nicolas as part of our Dirty Dozen series, where authors and artists are invited to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves. Read on for 12 peeks into the inner workings of a generous and talented young playwright.

  1. When writing, I usually listen to dance music. And yes, I like the stuff.
  2. Heights make me feel queasy, though I have no issues flying.
  3. I love mustard. A lot.
  4. I enjoy team sports and I’m competitive. I play hockey and softball regularly, along with dodgeball and ultimate.
  5. I own about 25 books; basically, only my favourite works. As you can imagine, my library card gets a regular workout.
  6. I wrote software in high school, including a periodic table of the elements called “HyperElements”. It was released as shareware and was chosen as one of the top 30 shareware programs of 1995 by MacUser magazine. It was subsequently used in chemistry departments at several universities around the world.
  7. I love the ocean and scuba diving. I’ve seen three sharks while diving, and snorkeled with a whale shark.
  8. When it comes to writing, my touchstones are George Orwell and Albert Camus.
  9. Strawberries? No thanks.
  10. I know the words to pretty much every song on The White Room, the KLF’s 1991 album.
  11. I gather and track my time so that I can breakdown my usage and efficiency. I’m often shocked at how much time email takes out of a day.
  12. “Eclectic” is my favourite word in the English language.


Nicolas Billon's plays and translations have been produced at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Canadian Stage and Théâtre d’Aujourd'hui. Voted one of the Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2009 by Toronto's NOW Magazine, Nicolas also writes for film.

For more information about Fault Lines please visit the Coach House Books website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check out all the Dirty Dozen interviews in our archives.

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