Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Michael Kelly

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Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly is one of the contributors for the upcoming anthology Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound (EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing), edited by Mark Leslie. Other contributors include Robert J. Sawyer and Ryan Oakley. The collection features speculative fiction inspired by music, art, culture and literature.

In his answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Michael tells Open Book about the best month of the year, his favourite authors and his excellent borrowed 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.

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What is your dream of happiness?
Sunshine!

What is your idea of misery?
Darkness, my old friend.

Where would you like to live?
A place where it’s autumn all the time. Forever October.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Empathy and loyalty.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Everything! Their caring, nurturing nature. Their patience, love, and trust.

What is your chief characteristic?
I’m diplomatic. To a fault.

What is your principal fault?
I'm diplomatic.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Um, hmmm … imported beer?

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Lack of knowledge. We’re all learning.

What do you value most about your friends?
Their loyalty and belief in me.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
People who hold grudges.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
The way I hold a grudge.

What is your favourite virtue?
Humility. Not that I have any, mind.

What is your favourite occupation?
Daydreaming.

What would you like to be?
Immortal.

What is your favourite colour?
Ochre. I like the sound of it. Or Hepplewhite Ivory.

What is your favourite flower?
Snapdragon.

What is your favourite bird?
Crow!

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Joseph Hillstrom.

What character in history do you most dislike?
Hitler.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Shirley Jackson, Steven Millhauser, Charles Beaumont, Flannery O’Connor, Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Haruki Murakami, Robert Aickman, Dan Chaon, Raymond Carver.

Who are your favourite poets?
Robert Frost, W.B. Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Basho.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Billy Pilgrim and Holden Caulfield.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My wife, Carolyn.

Who is your favourite painter?
Zdzislaw Beksinski.

Who is your favourite musician?
David Gilmour.

What is your favourite food?
Indian: Masala, Vindaloo, Tandoori, Naan.

What is your favourite drink?
Cold beer on a hot patio.

What are your favourite names?
Masala, Vindaloo, Tandoori, and Naan. Oh, sorry, how about Carolyn, Courtney, and Daniel. And Fletcher! Fletcher’s a good one.

What is it you most dislike?
Idolatry.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
Vocal. The ability to sing.

How do you want to die?
Quickly.

What is your current state of mind?
Meh!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Surviving this long.

What is your motto?
You can’t discover new lands without losing sight of the shore. Okay, I stole that. But I like it.


Michael Kelly is a Toronto-based author, editor and publisher. He’s been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the British Fantasy Society Award. His fiction has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Carleton Arts Review, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, The Literary Journal and Postscripts. His next book (as editor) is Chilling Tales: In Words, Alas, Drown I (EDGE), due Spring 2013. Several short stories are forthcoming, including “Blink”, in Tesseracts 16 (EDGE).

For more information about Tesseracts 16 please visit the EDGE 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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