Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Katie Boland

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Katie Boland

Katie Boland is most often found in front of the camera, but with the publication of Eat Your Heart Out (Brindle & Glass), she's moved between the pages. The actress and writer has published her work previously in newspapers and journals and now, at just twenty-four years old, is the author of a full volume of short fiction. Eat Your Heart Out brings to life characters strange and haunted, witty and broken, in Katie's fresh voice.

In her answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Katie tells Open Book about a cheap extravagance, the birds that are practically family and the CanLit character who speaks in her head.

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?
Falling in love, staying in love, building a life.

What is your idea of misery?
When someone I love is suffering and the way to feel better is very complicated or non-existant.

Where would you like to live?
Somewhere I am productive, where everyone I love is, where I’m challenged, seeing new things all the time and changing for the better. I don’t know that this place exists.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Talent, kindness, humour, likes rap music, wears cool baseball caps.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
I like women who are down to earth, who laugh easily, who love other women, who you don’t have to work very hard at feeling yourself around.

What is your chief characteristic?
I think I’m a good friend.

What is your principal fault?
I feel most things are my responsibility and so I police things. I pinch my brother/mother/father under tables when I want them to shut up in public! That’s awful!

What is your greatest extravagance?
Cheap dresses.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Those that I believe won’t change, no matter how hard anyone tries.

What do you value most about your friends?
Their support and humour.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
I don’t like it when people exclude others. Also, when people are very critical of those who make art/put themselves out there when they do nothing. Then again, these critics tend to appreciate and more deeply think about art and literature than I am able to, so I guess that in itself is a skill and contribution.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
The nature of my reality is often shifting, so it’s easy for me to be dishonest, most of all with myself. A lot of things feel true to me. I wish I was more black and white.

What is your favourite virtue?
I do think I’m an optimist and so I don’t quit until I’ve made the best of things in my head and therefore, I think I’ll always be okay.

What is your favourite occupation?
I like the two I have now writer/actress.

What would you like to be?
One day, a wife and a mother, a show-runner, a photographer, a director and the author of a long novel.

What is your favourite colour?
Red.

What is your favourite flower?
Peonies.

What is your favourite bird?
Blue jays, my father sees them as reminders that his mother and father who are long departed are still watching over us.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Joan of Arc.

What character in history do you most dislike?
Character? Anyone in Monty Python. I just don’t get it.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Raymond Chandler, Miriam Toews, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kevin Boland.

Who are your favourite poets?
Michael Boland, Nas, Eminem, Shad, Bob Dylan, OutKast, Jay-Z, The Fugees.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
In Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness her main character Nomi Nickel still speaks to me in my head all the time. That book is a constant part of me every day. She is courageous and heroic and written in such a specific, alive voice that I could never forget her.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My family. My best friends. And, in all honesty, after I met my boyfriend the inherent difficulties of life felt bearable and it got easier to watch the beauty of life manifest. That’s a pretty good hero if you ask me.

Who is your favourite painter?
Marc Chagall.

Who is your favourite musician?
Bob Dylan. Kanye West is second.

What is your favourite food?
Pretzels, sadly.

What is your favourite drink?
Alcohol? Vodka-soda, but I’m trying to quit that, so, coffee.

What are your favourite names?
Patrick. Michael. Gail. Kevin. Rejane. Danny. Alice. Amy. Caitlin. Larry. Vergena.

What is it you most dislike?
Insensitivity, I even f*cking hate good-natured jokes that are insensitive.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
Does being able to drive without thinking you’re going to kill everyone count?

How do you want to die?
When I’m very, very, very old, next to my husband of a million years, in my sleep, in my home, that my kids don’t live too far from, and only after I’ve done everything I set out to.

What is your current state of mind?
Pretty good. A little confused and tired, but very grateful.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I have a lot of really wonderful, talented, kind, sensitive, giving, beautiful, effervescent and f*cking funny people in my life, and more come in all the time. I don’t know if I accomplished that but my relationships with these people are what I’m proudest of. And, I’ve had a lot of life for a twenty-four year old.

What is your motto?
The same as Drake’s. You Only Live Once (Y.O.L.O)


Katie Boland is an actress and writer who divides her time between Los Angeles and Toronto. She was chosen as one of the Toronto International Film Festival’s “Rising Stars” and as one of three Canadians to watch by Elle Canada. She has appeared in over 40 films and her writing has appeared in the Toronto Star and TChad Quarterly. Eat Your Heart Out is her first published book. Visit Katie online at http://www.katieboland.com or follow her on Twitter at @katieboland.

For more information about Eat Your Heart Out please visit the Brindle & Glass website.

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

Check out all the Proust Questionnaire interviews in our archives.

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