Johanna Skibsrud turned heads when she won the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize for The Sentimentalists. The Nova Scotia-born author had previously published two works of poetry and, in 2011, a collection of short fiction This Will Be Difficult to Explain, and Other Stories.  

Skibsrud is the first of AE’s monthly respondants to the Proust Questionnaire.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Feeling unloved; loving and caring for no one.

Where would you like to live?
Tucson, Arizona and Meadowville, Nova Scotia

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Feeling loved; loving and caring for others.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Impatience and frustration.

Who are your favourite heroes of fiction?
Charles Kinbote, from Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire. "The Man" in Carson McCullers's "A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud."

Who are your favourite characters in history?
John Muir, Hannah Arendt

Who are your favourite heroines in real life?
Muriel Rukeyser, Angela Davis

Who are your favourite heroines of fiction?
Roslyn Tabor from Arthur Miller's The Misfits. Miss Rumphius in Barbara Clooney's Miss Rumphius.

Your favourite painter?
Mark Rothko

Your favourite musician?
Olivier Messiaen

The quality you most admire in a man?

The quality you most admire in a woman?

Your favourite virtue?
Openness, and a capacity for critical reflection.
Your favourite occupation?

Who would you have liked to be?
A circus acrobat, or a country music star.

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