The Questionless Books Interview: Writer, Broadcaster, and Charmer Noah Richler

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The Questionless Books Interview: Writer, Broadcaster, and Charmer Noah Richler

Inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, The Questionless Books Interview gets a host of lit-types (authors, editors, publishers, publicists, designers, booksellerss, readers, bloggers, journalists, etc.) to finish a bunch of statements about the state of literature and the "future of books".

Noah Richler made documentaries and features for BBC Radio for fourteen years before returning to Canada in 1998. He was the books editor and then the literary columnist for the National Post, and has contributed to numerous publications in Britain, including the Guardian, Punch, the Daily Telegraph, and in Canada to The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Saturday Night, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail. A Literary Atlas of Canada is his first book. He lives in Toronto.

Noah's Books:

Literary Atlas of Canada

Noah's Links:

The Walrus
Roverarts
Canadian Art

I am a writer and broadcaster who is a charmer sometimes, but impermissibly cranky a lot.

I am known to fastidiously clean and order the house, to the point of obsessing about the arrangement of cutlery in the dishwasher and rearranging discarded family shoes to make sure they are properly lined up with their toes all pointing the right (i.e. my) way.

I do this instead of working.

I do this because had I been born twenty or thirty years later, someone would have identified some ADD condition and prescribed me pills.

I do this when I -- well, all day, but particularly in the face of deadlines.

The way I do this is democratic, and my solace is that the kids in the house are learning a certain warped sense of humour that may serve them well when Jonathan Goldstein retires.

At its core, a Writer is someone who is basically incapable of working in institutions and who discovers, over the course of time, that the only person who will employ him or her is him- or herself.

As opposed to an Author, who is -- oh, I don't know, sufficiently well-regarded that he can forget from time to time that really he could do nothing else.

A Writer is responsible for taking out the garbage, cleaning the steps, doing the shopping, minding the pets, tracking and paying the bills and wondering why he even keeps a land-line as the only folk who use it are cold-calling sheisters offering free (yeah, right) Caribbean holidays and furnace repair plans.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for justifying no longer having to do these things.

At its core, Publishing is a very decent endeavour.

As opposed to Editing, which is decent and much less in the spotlight.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is the one in which the changes scored last night are the same ones the writer puts in again in the morning.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is handsome and exciting and bound and the result, authors should remind themselves, of a lot of work by a lot of people whatever the format it's in.

The smallest unit of narrative is the letter 't' which for some fascinating reason has a whole idea of projection in it. I'd say that of 'I', too, but I'm less interested in him.

At his/her core, a Reader is someone who is generous and interested in the lives and experience (and wisdom) of others.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website Bookninja.com.

Go to George Murray’s Author Page