Raziel Reid

Raziel PhotoInterviewed by Heather Farrell

Raziel Reid is a Canadian author with a degree in acting from the New York Film Academy. His work took off just three years ago with the release of his debut novel When Everything Feels Like the Movies. It won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s literature in 2014, when Raziel was 24, making him the youngest author to win the award in that category. Raziel now has a two-book deal with Penguin Random House Canada. The first of the two books, Kens, is set to be released in 2018.

While reading When Everything Feels Like the Movies I was enraptured powerful narration and the impact of the story. It was an honour to be able to correspond with Raziel about his work not long after finishing his new novel.

Your first novel, When Everything Feels Like the Movies [WEFLTM], is based off the true and tragic events in 2008 that led to the death of 15-year-old Larry Forbes King. He was shot by a fellow student whom Larry had asked to be his valentine. What was it like to write a novel-length work inspired by such a powerful true life event? How did it affect your writing process?

I knew the ending before I knew anything else, and since the real-life inspiration was rather bleak, I instinctively countered it with a riotousness and humour in the writing. During CBC Canada Reads in 2015 when the panel had to pick one of the titles as the only book they could read for the rest of their life Martha Wainwright didn’t pick WEFLTM but she said it meant she would be laughing less. I really appreciated that.

Larry became a martyr and idol of mine because I shared in his humiliation and the dissonance between his ethereal spirit and the material world. But I got to survive. By experiencing his death, I found an appreciation for my life.
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