Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel Pic2Interviewed by Charles-Adam Foster-Simard

Alberto Manguel was born in Buenos Aires in 1948 and is one of the world’s most renowned bibliophiles. He is also an accomplished novelist, essayist, translator, editor, and anthologist—he has written and edited over 40 books since 1980, including reader favourites like The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, A History of Reading, The Library at Night, and All Men Are Liars. In 2007, he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures titled The City of Words, which was published as a book by House of Anansi Press. Manguel currently lives in France, in a renovated medieval presbytery that also houses his 30,000 books.

I approached Mr. Manguel by letter in order to ask him if he would be amenable to this interview. He informed me that he has recently acquired an email address and agreed to answer my questions electronically.

You moved a great deal throughout your life. You were born and grew up in Argentina (and in Israel for several years), and then spent some time in Italy, Tahiti, England, Canada, and France, where you now reside full-time. Generally, what was a common impetus behind these moves, and in what country did you feel more comfortable and supported as a writer?

Chance. Borges has a story in which a man spends his life travelling, criss-crossing the world, doing all sorts of things. At the end of his life, he looks at the line his movements have traced and it depicts the features of his face. Maybe that’s what all my travel is about: an exercise in self-portraiture.

What country I feel most comfortable in? I judge my comfort through the place I’m in and the people I’m with, not a country in general. Countries are too vast and multifaceted for that. Where am I most supported as a writer? Curiously enough, countries in which I don’t live: Turkey, Spain, Brazil… [Read more…]

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Gail Carson Levine

Interviewed by Monika Davies

gailcarsonlevine_photoGail Carson Levine has been a prolific children’s author since she published her debut novel, the widely beloved Ella Enchanted, a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. She has since published a remarkable collection of novels for young readers, including Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults, Ever, Fairest, The Wish, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, The Fairy’s Return, A Tale of Two Castles, and several others. She is also the author of two picture books, Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie, the nonfiction Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly, as well as her newest, Forgive Me, I Meant To Do It, False Apology Poems.

Gail has a keen sense for what will resonate with young readers, and her characteristic wit and humour are key aspects of all of her published works. She is also a great encourager and supporter of budding authors, and her blog is a robust compilation of advice for writers young and old.

Having grown up immersed in the imaginative and colorful worlds of Gail’s novels, I was delighted to have the chance to interview her via email from her home in Brewster, New York.

Who were the writers you admired most when you first began writing? Which authors most excite you now as a reader?

I began writing for children when I was thirty-nine, and I read most of the Newbery bookcase at my local library. I especially loved Joan Aiken and E. L. Konigsburg. At the moment, oddly enough, I’m a full-time student going for a Masters of Fine Arts in poetry, and poetry is what I’m reading. I admire Sharon Olds, Ted Kooser, James Wright, Robert Hayden, Lisel Mueller, and many more. [Read more…]