Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Lesley Fairfield

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Ten Questions with Lesley Fairfield

Brilliantly and realistically presented, Tyranny (Tundra Books) is a must-read for anyone looking for a better understanding of eating disorders and for everyone looking for a compelling page-turner that is truly a story of triumph and hope. Open Book talks to author and artist, Lesley Fairfield.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your book, Tyranny.

Lesley Fairfield:

Tyranny is the story of Anna and her friends, and Anna’s struggle with anorexia. Over time the direction of Anna’s life is compromised, she looses her boyfriend, drops out of school, while at the mercy of the character Tyranny, who is the embodiment of anorexia. Tyranny taunts and abuses Anna, forcing her into starvation, binge eating and bulimia, but Anna fights back, and in time overcomes her illness and vanquishes Tyranny.

OBT:

How did you research your book?

LF:

Tyranny first came to mind as a character many years ago when I was in treatment for anorexia myself and creating visual journals. The story of Anna came into focus with the increasing popularity of graphic novels as a medium. As anorexia is all about image, the story of Anna told in graphic novel form was a perfect fit. The characters in the book are composites of others I met along the path to my own recovery, and although situations are fictional, they are based on many years of experience and hard work.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind for Tyranny?

LF:

Tyranny is meant to appeal to young adults, their parents, schools and health care professionals.

OBT:

Our culture places a great deal of pressure on people to have a specific body type, which is one of the reasons people struggle with serious body-image problems. What advice would you give to someone beginning to experience this pressure?

LF:

I would be careful not to give advice as I’m not a health care professional. I would suggest that seeing your family doctor is a good first step, as the longer it persists, the harder it is to eradicate. Self-esteem is essential as an ingredient in resisting severe body image problems.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as an author and artist?

LF:

The best advice came from my father who was also an artist and writer. He stressed the importance of keeping talents safe and strong. By that he meant that creativity must be nurtured in order to thrive.

OBT:

Describe your ideal work environment.

LF:

I like to listen to music, have a clear field around me without distraction and a window nearby so I can gaze out on the world.

OBT:

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

LF:

Boy, that’s a tough one. It would be hard to pick just three because there are so many fantastic Canadian books – graphic novels by Seth, Chester Brown, Rosiland Penfold.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

LF:

I’m reading the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

OBT:

What advice do you have for authors and illustrators who are trying to get published?

LF:

It takes longer than you think, so don’t give up and be true to yourself.

OBT:

What is your next project?

LF:

I have about five, and I can’t decide where to start!


Lesley Fairfield is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design in illustration. Her work appears in many children’s books. Lesley’s personal thirty-year struggle with anorexia and bulimia has informed her work concerning body image, which has appeared in “Dance in Canada” magazine and in York University’s International Women’s Studies Journal.

For more information about Tyranny please visit the Tundra Books website at www.tundrabooks.com.




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

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