Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Sabrina Ramnanan

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Sabrina Ramnanan

Debut author Sabrina Ramnanan's Nothing Like Love (Doubleday Canada) reimagines a Romeo and Juliet-style problematic pairing, shifted to 1974 Trinidad. Rum, scandal and scheming abound in Nothing Like Love, which sees the bright future of Vimla Narine cut short when she is caught holding hands with the village pundit's son, Krishna. Praised by the Globe and Mail as filled with "laughter, light and spice", Nothing Like Love is a great way to kick off your summer reading.

Today Sabrina takes our version of the Proust Questionnaire, one of our favourite ways to get to know writers. She tells us what "flumminguins" are, about her heroes real and fictional and shares a Dickinson quote worth remembering.

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.

Sabrina will be reading at the IFOA Weekly series on June 24, 2015 with Deborah Dundas and Connie Gault. For more information about the event, check out the IFOA website.

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What is your dream of happiness?

An abundance of love, money and time to share.

What is your idea of misery?

Loneliness, wet socks, prolonged hunger, life without books.

Where would you like to live?

In a cottage in the countryside beside a brook.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?

Patience, compassion, humour, integrity. Defined calves.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?

Warmth, compassion, boldness, integrity. Freckled noses.

What is your principal fault?

I have a terrible sense of direction.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Books, notebooks, and anything from the health food store.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?

Mis-matched socks.

What do you value most about your friends?

Wise words, loud laughter, big, big hearts.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

Jealousy and plain meanness.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

I’m oversensitive.

What is your favourite virtue?

Empathy. I’m also a really good listener.

What is your favourite occupation?

Professional student, Energy Healer, Writer.

What would you like to be?

Present, peaceful, less tired.

What is your favourite colour?

Teal.

What is your favourite flower?

Jasmine.

What is your favourite bird?

Flamingoes for their colour, hummingbirds for their speed, penguins for their waddle. Flumminguins.

What historical figure do you admire the most?

Bob Marley.

What character in history do you most dislike?

Hitler, Stalin.

Who are your favourite poets?

Rumi, Langston Hughes.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?

Scarlett O’Hara, Anne Shirley, Jo March.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My parents and every parent who loves and supports their children the way mine do.

Who is your favourite painter?

My toddler and every kindergarten student I’ve ever met.

What is your favourite food?

Chocolate banana crepes, Caprese salad, chocolate in its many manifestations.

What is your favourite drink?

Water with a squeeze of lemon, chai, Jack Daniels and Coke.

What are your favourite names?

Scarlet, Julia, Finnegan.

What is it you most dislike?

Lies, violence, empty small-talk, false smiles.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?

The ability to belt notes from deep in my soul.

How do you want to die?

Full, smiling, rocking in a hammock in the Caribbean.

What is your current state of mind?

Hopeful.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Finishing Nothing Like Love, bringing my son Chance into the world.

What is your motto?

"I dwell in possibility" — Emily Dickinson


Sabrina Ramnanan was born in Toronto to Trinidadian parents. She completed her B.A. in English and B.Ed at the University of Toronto. In addition, Sabrina is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education Creative Writing Program and the recipient of the 2012 Marina Nemat award. Her work has appeared in Diaspora Dialogues, Cerulean Rain, Writing in the Margins, The Caribbean Writer and Joyland. This is her debut novel.

Check out all the Proust Questionnaire interviews in our archives.

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