Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Word on the Street interview series: Christine Pountney

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Christine Pountney

It's almost time! The Word on the Street is nearly upon us. Today is the final instalment of our 2012 The Word on the Street interviews, and we're pleased to close this year's series with novelist Christine Pountney, the author of Sweet Jesus (McClelland & Stewart).

Christine talks to Open Book about a room with a view, one of her favourite Ontario authors and an adventurous baggage handler.

See you this Sunday, September 23 at The Word on the Street!

Open Book:

Tell us a about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Christine Pountney:

I’ll be reading from my latest novel, Sweet Jesus.


Have you attended The Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


I have not attended before, I’m looking forward to reading in a tent not far from where I used to live with my parents on Queen’s Park Circle. My dad’s used to be the principal for Wycliffe College and for nine months my bedroom overlooked the park.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.


I love Claudia Dey’s Stunt because it’s steeped in Toronto lore, and yet also absolutely reflective of her own iridescent interior life, the heartfelt world of her romantic imagination.


What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?


Keep it short.


Word on the Street is happening simultaneously in Toronto, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener and Halifax this year as well as in Vancouver from September 28-30. If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival (in addition to Toronto) would you attend?


Probably Saskatoon, because I once met a baggage handler from Saksatoon in Puerto Vallarta. He’d hopped on an overnight flight and come down for the day, just to spend one day in the hot sun in the middle of winter. He looked like a taller, blonder, more rugged version of Tom Cruise. He had an Irish tattoo. We met on the beach and he picked me up and threw me into the waves. He was strong, athletic, a water-skiing champion. We made out in a phone booth, while he tried to change his return ticket. He was seven years younger and I was completely smitten, but he had to fly home at the end of the day. I’ve always thought it would be great to bump into him again.


What can you tell us about your next project?


Nothing, it’s still gestating. Though I am reworking an original feature length screenplay that I hope to have finished by the New Year, about immigrant life in Montreal, and the friendship between two young women who come from radically different cultural backgrounds.

Christine Pountney grew up in Vancouver and Montreal, and lived in London for five years before moving back to Canada. She has two previous novels, Last Chance Texaco (longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2000), and The Best Way You Know How. She has written for the Guardian, the New York Times Magazine, the Walrus, Brick Magazine and Nuvo. She lives in Toronto with her partner, Michael Winter, and their son, Leo.

For more information about Sweet Jesus please visit the McClelland & Stewart website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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