Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Kelli Deeth

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Kelli Deeth (photo credit: Brian Carson)

Kelli Deeth first made her mark on the literary world with 2001's The Girl Without Anyone, which was named a Globe & Mail Best Book. This season, she returns with a brand new collection, The Other Side of Youth (Aresenal Pulp Press). These visceral stories have been praised as "precise", "honest" and "raw". Quill & Quire said that each one is a "finely-tuned powerhouse".

In her answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Kelli tells Open Book about light and water, the musical ability she would love to have, and her own personal motto.

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.

You can catch Kelli in person at a multi-publisher literary party called the Fall Fiction Feast! On Tuesday, October 15, 2013, Kelli will be reading with Matthew Heiti, Dana Mills and Rosemary Nixon. The fun starts at 7:00p.m. at Supermarket Restaurant (268 August Avenue) in Toronto. Don't miss this chance to see an amazing group of authors reading from brand new works!
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What is your dream of happiness?
A house on the water. A lively life full of art, conversation, friendship, meaningful work.

What is your idea of misery?
Psychological imprisonment — fear, rigid ideas, hate.

Where would you like to live?
On water, and in quiet, trees around. I need windows.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
An ability to listen, to be soft, to be resilient.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
A sense of humour. Ferocity.

What do you value most about your friends?
I value empathy, imagination, humour.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Not thinking for one’s self.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
My fear of wild places. I have yet to successfully camp.

What is your favourite virtue?
Generosity of spirit.

What is your favourite occupation?
Thinking, wondering, wandering, imagining.

What would you like to be?
A short story writer.

What is your favourite colour?
The blue of oceans.

What is your favourite bird?
The Robin.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My husband.

What is your favourite food?
Spaghetti.

What are your favourite names?
Jennifer, Liam.

What is it you most dislike?
Indifference to pain. Abscence of empathy.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
I would like to be able to sing.

How do you want to die?
I want to take a last breath, to look at someone who loves me, and who I love, and to let out that last breath. I want to be of clear mind, and not in pain.

What is your current state of mind?
Hopeful, tentatively happy.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My first collection, The Girl Without Anyone. How I laboured!

What is your motto?
Be true to yourself, and to others; be generous; hang on.


Kelli Deeth's new collection, The Other Side of Youth, will be released in fall 2013 by Arsenal Press. Kelli Deeth’s acclaimed story collection, The Girl Without Anyone, published by HarperCollins, was chosen as one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books. Her stories appear regularly in literary journals such as Event, The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, Joyland and The Puritan. Kelli Deeth holds an MFA in creative writing from The University of British Columbia and teaches creative writing at The University of Toronto. She lives and writes in Toronto.

For more information about The Other Side of Youth please visit the Arsenal Pulp Press 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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