Why read fairy tales? We hardly need books any more to know the outlines of the most familiar ones. They are continually returned to us in new forms, often aimed at adults: a Red Riding Hood movie last year, two Snow White movies this year, not to mention Grimm, the TV series with a fairy-tale twist. Still, we think of fairy tales as reading for children, or we read them to children, even the often violent and bloodthirsty tales gathered by the Brothers Grimm in Children’s and Household Tales, first published 200 years ago this year.
If It Lives, It Moves: Looking at the Kinetic as a Reading Strategy
This is a talk about reading in the writing classroom and in particular approaches to reading the work of published writers in a writing class.
If it’s possible, in the wake of a parent’s death, for that parent to retreat to the point where he or she is barely thought of, I don’t know it.
Bookninja is proud to present the first installment of its Fall 2007 Magazine — a roundtable discusion of empathy in fiction, suggested by Catherine Bush and joined by four other prominent novelists: Peter Behrens, Barbara Gowdy, Sheila Heti and Lisa Moore.
This discussion represents the opinions of some of the most talented, brassy, and thoughtful authors contemporary Canadian fiction has to offer (between them they have dozens of award nominations and wins — Governor General’s Award, Giller Prize, Commonwealth Prize, IMPAC Award) on an issue central to the nuts and bolts of both reading and writing. It is a must-read for anyone who cares about either end of the process.
Before I’d actually published my third novel, Claire’s Head, but after the book was out of my hands and at the printers (the stage, in other words, when most sane writers would say they are finished), I told my partner (who’s also a writer) that I wanted to do another draft of it. He looked at me as if I were crazy. Don’t do it, he cried.
When I told my editor and publisher, a few months later, after the publication of the novel, that I had written a significant revision and I wanted to publish this version as the paperback edition, she said to me, No one has ever done this. (Though I wondered if that was really the case.)
Catherine Bush: Two of the most notable things about your work are your hybrid use of form and your radical roping together of the ancient and contemporary. I read in an article that you became a classicist out of an early fascination with Oscar Wilde, who studied classics. Was he your route into the classical realm? In other words, why classics? And, what is it about Oscar?
Anne Carson: I admired Oscar Wilde for his clothes not his classics. Classics discovered itself to me (about age 15) one day in a shopping mall in Stoney Creek, Ontario, when I happened on a bilingual edition of Sappho and decided to learn ancient Greek.
the only question worth asking of a story … is, "Is it dead or alive?”
- Mavis Gallant
Catherine’s contributions to UBC’s optional-residency MFA audio downloads can be heard here (2009-2006). Scroll down to 2006 for her instructor talk: "Why Fiction Matters: Some Thoughts on Realism, Authenticity and Conviction"
"to create life which does not eat, procreate or drink but which can live in people who are alive."
- Henry Green on writing