Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Monica Nawrocki

Share |
Ten Questions with Monica Nawrocki

Teacher and writer Monica Nawrocki talks to Open Book about reading, Canadian culture and her latest book, Thanks for Chucking That at the Wall Instead of Me: Teaching At-Rist Children and Youth (Chestnut Publishing).

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book.

Monica Nawrocki:

Thanks for Chucking That at the Wall Instead of Me (Chestnut Publishing, 2007) is a memoir about working with at-risk children and youth in a school setting. To me, it is about communication, and understanding the relationship between needs and behaviour in all of us. It’s basically a record of my experiences and what I learned. Feedback indicates most people find something useful in it – regardless of whether they work with at-risk kids or not.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

MN:

Well I started out writing to and for myself: trying to process seven intense years of my professional (and personal) life. It quickly evolved into something else, and I think I had new teachers in my mind as I wrote... things I wish I had truly understood from the beginning of my teaching career.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

MN:

I have a lovely little space that I call my “fort” because I don’t like the words “office, study, studio, etc.” It’s just a pale yellow room with good light, a desk, a comfy chair, bookshelves, a meditation corner, a giant bulletin board and things that inspire me on the walls. It also has a door that closes and locks.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

MN:

A poem called “God’s Love” when I was 8 years old.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

MN:

Hmm. Hard to identify specifics. I exist in the context of Canadian culture; am pushed and pulled everyday. At this moment, I can’t think how to connect the dots, except to say that my (relatively) recent move from Winnipeg to a small island off the west coast is having an interesting affect on how I see the world. I look forward to seeing how that cultural shift will sift through my writing.

OBT:

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

MN:

Random Passage by Bernice Morgan
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

MN:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Tidal Passages by Jeanette Taylor
New and Selected Poems (Vol. I) by Mary Oliver
The Scene Book by Sandra Scofield.

OBT:

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

MN:

Get a better chair.

OBT:

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

MN:

Be sure your project matches the mandate of the publisher to whom you are sending your inquiry (The Canadian Writer’s Market). And cross your fingers.

OBT:

What is your next project?

MN:

A young adult novel which needs a title. Suggestions may be sent to: i.suck.at.titles.com.


Monica Nawrocki is a teacher/writer who believes survival in the classroom, as in the larger world, depends on a healthy sense of humour. She currently works as a teacher on a small island where it is virtually impossible for the students to escape.

For more information about Thanks for Chucking That at the Wall Instead of Me please visit the Chestnut Publishing website.


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

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications

Dundurn

Open Book App Ad