Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions (Trillium Finalists Series) with Nino Ricci

Share |
Ten Questions (Trillium Finalists Series) with Nino Ricci

The final installment in our series of Ten Questions with Trillium Book Award Finalists is an interview with award-winning author Nino Ricci. He is the author of Testament, winner of the Trillium Book Award, and of the trilogy of novels Lives of the Saints, In A Glass House and Where She Has Gone. His latest novel, The Origin of Species (Doubleday Canada, 2008), is the 2008 winner of the Governor General’s Award and has been nominated for the 2009 Trillium Book Award.

Enter Open Book's June contest to win an Ontario Authors Prizepack that includes the nine English-language Trillium-nominated books.

OBT:

First, a huge congrats on being a Finalist for the 22nd Annual Trillium Book Awards! Could you tell us about your nominated book, The Origin of Species?

NR:

It is ostensibly about a young man’s friendship with a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis. But it is really about mucking around in the dark corners of the male psyche, and about reinventing what it means to be human.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote The Origin of Species?

NR:

The readership I always have in mind is that select group of people who have exactly the same taste as I do. Of course, everyone else is welcome too. With this book I also particularly wanted to reach out to men, who seem to have gone off fiction of late in favour of biographies and business manuals.

OBT:

What were you doing when you received news of your Trillium nomination?

NR:

I was probably answering emails. At some point, many months ago, I lost control of my inbox and have been in email limbo ever since. Are there support groups for this?

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

NR:

I have now trained myself to write in just about any environment. What I like best, however, are well-appointed hotel rooms in large, anonymous luxury hotels where someone else is footing the bill. There is wireless internet and unlimited room service and unlimited pay TV. And I am actually allowed to use the minibar.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

NR:

My first publication was a poem in Disting magazine in Nigeria, where I taught high school in the early 1980s as a CUSO volunteer. Disting (a local term meaning something like “whatchamacallit”) was the newsletter of Nigerian CUSOs, and was not especially stringent in its acceptance policies.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Ontario” gift, what would those books be?

NR:

Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business and Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

NR:

Let the Shadows Fall Behind You by Kathy-Diane Leveille, an East Coast writer who was in one of my writing workshops several years ago.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

NR:

Give it up. That was what W.O. Mitchell advised me after looking at my writing back in my first year of university. I might never have worked as hard as I did if I hadn’t had W.O. Mitchell to prove wrong.

OBT:

What is your next project?

NR:

It’s a secret. Oh, all right. It’s a novel about someone having a midlife crisis. I figure if I write about someone else’s midlife crisis, I can avoid having one myself.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

NR:

Just the usual. Persist. Oh—and marry well.



Read more about The Origin of Species by Nino Ricci at RandomHouse.ca.

For more information on the Trillium Book Award, go to the Ontario Media Development Corporation's website.

1 comment

How interesting that Nino Ricci's meeting with W.O. Mitchell's was the impetus he needed to become the writer he is today.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications

Dundurn

Open Book App Ad