Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Bertrand Laverdure

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Bertrand Laverdure

Bertrand Laverdure has no fear when it comes to pulling from a variety of genres to create something new, unsettling and innovative. Newly translated into English by Oana Avasilichioaei, Bertrand's Universal Bureau of Copyrights (BookThug) is part sci-fi dystopia, part social commentary and all addictive storytelling. It imagines a world where free will is non-existent and copyrights to all things are bought and sold by the government — including copyrights for people.

Today Bertrand joins us to take on the Proust Questionnaire, where in his trademark, candid voice, he tells us about the writer who gets it all, the literary death he envies and what's in the microwave.

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?
Teleportation on a daily basis.

What is your idea of misery?
Be stuck in a bucket of wet concrete that never solidifies, and be ignorant of philosophy.

Where would you like to live?
On a stage, in front of more than 8000 people that want my art and treat me like a prince.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Tactfulness.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Culture.

What is your chief characteristic?
Bold ambition.

What is your principal fault?
Pretension.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I speak to robots, like in the movie I'm a Cyborg and That's Okay.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Slip on the law (Breaking a rule? Bending the rules? Plus idiomatiques).

What do you value most about your friends?
Respect.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Trojan horse friendship, faking kindness to get what you want from me.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
I’m too much into self-promotion, I would have liked more to be the Salinger type.

What is your favourite virtue?
Loyalty, is there seriously any other real virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?
Sex.

What would you like to be?
A writer on a stage, in front of a large audience, with dolby surrounding system in a kind of opera theatre.

What is your favourite colour?
Screen green.

What is your favourite flower?
Orchid, like in the movie.

What is your favourite bird?
Junco, a black and white bird, neo-gothic, existentialist, Bergmanesque bird.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Joyce (he gets it all).

What character in history do you most dislike?
Ford (he invented blind consumerism being a crypto-nazi).

Who are your favourite prose authors?
David Foster Wallace, Thomas Berhnard, Michael Delisle, Carlos Liscano, Julien Blanc-Gras, Marcel Proust, Gaëtan Brulotte, Pierre Michon, Richard Millet, Kerouac, Georges Perec.

Who are your favourite poets?
Jack Spicer, Ginsberg, Bukowski, Brautigan, William Carlos William, George Oppen, Christophe Tarkos, Charles Pennequin, Jacques Roubaud, Jacques Dupin, Ungarreti, Dickinson.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Le perroquet Laverdure in Zazie Dans le Métro (Zazie in the subway) by Raymond Queneau, for obvious reasons.

Who are your heroes in real life?
All the doctors who practice their craft in a war zone or in a serious epidemic situation, like Ebola. They are the epitomes of human being. Great courage, great dedication.

Who is your favourite painter?
The artist collective that do mural art: EN MASSE.

Who is your favourite musician?
The Handsome family.

What is your favourite food?
Pizzaghetti.

What is your favourite drink?
Chablis, Sauvignon or IPA beer.

What are your favourite names?
Iphigénie, Northrop, Anasthasie, Eudor, Philomène and Mercurio.

What is it you most dislike?
Time.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
To play piano like a jazz superstar and compose as well.

How do you want to die?
In a revolution, shot by a military that defend the status quo, in a kind of Gavroche death in Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

What is your current state of mind?
Right now, I’m waiting for my cabbage soup to heat in the microwave.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
To be a good writer.

What is your motto?
If you can say "good morning", you are most able to have the talent to say "good night" or "have a nice sleep". Talents are concomitant.


Bertrand Laverdure is an award-winning poet, novelist, literary performer and blogger. His poetry publications include Rires and Sept et demi. He has written four well-received novels, Gomme de xanthane, Lectodôme, J'invente la piscine, Bureau universel des copyrights. Lettres crues, a book of literary correspondence with Quebecois author Pierre Samson, was published in the fall of 2012. He also published a YA poetry collection, Cascadeuse. Awards include the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts (1999), and the Rina-Lasnier Award for Poetry.

Check out all the Proust Questionnaire interviews in our archives.

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