Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Aya Tsintziras

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Aya Tsintziras

At just 22 years old, Aya Tsintziras is the author of Pretty Bones (Lorimer), a young adult novel which follows Raine, a girl struggling with anorexia.

In her answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Aya tells Open Book about her favourite punctuation, her real life heroes and her dream of happiness.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.

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What is your dream of happiness?
A long afternoon spent a) writing b) reading or c) talking to a good friend.

What is your idea of misery?
When someone is builled and/or denied rights for being who they are.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
A sense of humour, compassion, intelligence and the ability to be a good conversationalist.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Kindness, intelligence and the recognition that there is more to life than gossip.

What is your chief characteristic?
Talking about TV characters as if they’re real people (they’re real to me!) Also, I love a good exclamation point.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Taking weekends off from writing to indulge in my other favourite activity: reading!

What do you value most about your friends?
They are loyal and supportive.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Being conceited.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
My competitiveness.

What is your favourite virtue?
Patience. But I don’t have it.

What is your favourite occupation?
Writing.

What would you like to be?
A good writer and a good person.

What is your favourite colour?
It’s a tie between yellow and magenta.

What is your favourite flower?
Sunflowers.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Eleanor Roosevelt.

What character in history do you most dislike?
Hitler.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Michael Chabon, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, Carson McCullers, Tom Perrotta.

Who are your favourite poets?
Sylvia Plath, ee cummings, Dylan Thomas.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandparents — my grandpa could speak on any topic, and my grandma’s love of travel, books and life inspires me. Also, Joan Didion, for being brave enough to be vulnerable in her writing, and Bill Maher, for being brave enough to say what most of us are thinking.

Who is your favourite painter?
Van Gogh.

Who is your favourite musician?
Conor Oberst.

What is your favourite food?
French fries.

What is your favourite drink?
Coffee.

What are your favourite names?
Dylan, Zoe, Charlie, Rebecca.

What is it you most dislike?
Jealously. Bullies. Unsalted potato chips.

What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful yet restless at the same time.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Working to get my first novel published. It’s about a topic (eating disorders) that is close to my heart.

What is your motto?
“Everything happens for a reason.”


At fifteen, Aya Tsintziras' play, Rainfall, won an Honourable Mention in the Tarragon Theatre's Under 20 Playwright Competition. Now completing her degree in Political Science and Media Studies at the University of Toronto, Aya has rewritten the play into this novel. Her interest in anorexia developed during her teenage years after a classmate died due to complications of this eating disorder. Deeply affected by this tragedy, Aya wants young adults to be more aware of the consequences of what she was told then was a "mysterious illness."

For more information about Pretty Bones please visit the Lorimer website.

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

Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with great Canadian writers.

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