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20 Writerly Questions Series: Camilla Gibb

abstract:The "Writerly Questions Series" is brought to you courtesy of Random House Canada who partners with BookBuffet. Look for this feature each Monday. The idea is we ask different authors the same set of questions designed to give readers a glimpse into the lives and writing mechanics of authors. It is fascinating to compare and contrast when you check the list to date at bottom. Today's author is Camilla Gibb. Camilla Gibb is the author of four novels: Mouthing the words, Petty Details of So-and-So Life, Sweetness in the Belly and the forthcoming The Beauty of Humanity Movementóas well as numerous short stories, articles and reviews. She was the winner of the Trillium Book Award in 2006, a Scotiabank Giller Prize short list nominee in 2005, winner of the City of Toronto Book Award in 2000 and the recipient of the CBC Canadian Literary Award for short fiction in 2001. Her books have been published in 18 countries and translated into 14 languages and she was named by the jury of the prestigious Orange Prize as one of 21 writers to watch in the new century.
1. How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
Itís a story about the intersection of the lives of three very different people in Vietnam and how those relationships allow them each to reconcile themselves with aspects of the turbulent past
2. How long did it take you to write this book?
Two years.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
At the kitchen table on a sunny day.
4. How do you choose your charactersí names?
I choose ordinary names appropriate to the culture or context. Extraordinary names draw too much attention to themselves and disrupt the reading.
5. How many drafts do you go through?
Countless. Maybe 25?


August 30, 2010
6. If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
The Passion by Jeannette Winterson
7. If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
A Vietnamese Natalie Portman.†
8. Whatís your favourite city in the world?
The one I have yet to visit; the stuff of daydreams.
9. If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask?
Ryzard Kapucinski. On balance: do you think we, as a species, are a good one?
10. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
I have been listening to the same pieces of contemporary classical music at the beginning of each writing day for the past decade. Arvo Pšrtís Te Deum and Henrik Goreckiís Symphony No.3. I prefer music without words, or at least without words in English Ė too distracting.
11. Who is the first person who gets to read your manuscript?
No one reads my work until itís ready for editorial eyes.
12. Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
Hello Magazine. The British edition.
13. Whatís on your nightstand right now?
A lot of baby books.

14. What is the first book you remember reading?
A. A. Milneís When We Were Six.
15. Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. But more a poet.
16. What do you drink or eat while you write?
Red Rose tea, strong, with milk, and whole wheat toast with butter and Marmite.
17. Typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?
Laptop. br /> 18. What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
No recollection, but it probably involved wine.
19. How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
Itís an unconscious decision. The voice arrives and determines the pov.
20. What is the best gift someone could give a writer?

Author links

  • Random House's "Author Feature Page" for Camilla Gibb
  • Camilla's Web Page
  • Publisher links:

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  • Previous Authors Asked 20 Writerly Questions

  • Alissa York
  • Justin Cronin
  • Holly LeCraw
  • Joan Thomas
  • Anosh Irani
  • Yann Martel
  • Joy Fielding
  • Andrew Kaufman
  • Beth Powning


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