Joanne Proulx's first novel, Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet, tells the story of a small-town teenager who predicts the death of his best friend with uncanny precision. Proulx is an Ontario writer whose stories have been published at home and abroad, including the Paris literary quarterly Upstairs at Duroc and Exile: The Literary Quarterly. She recently won an award from Fence magazine to take part in the Summer Literary Session in Russia for her story, "I Land with the Force of a Million Men." Anthem came out in May with Penguin Canada.
Maisonneuve Magazine: If you could get a tattoo of one title from your own oeuvre, which would you choose and where would you be inked?
Joanne Proulx: If She's Thinking Anything, It's a Simple Thing, across my forehead.
MM: What would you entitle your autobiography?
JP: NOW WHAT?
MS: Finish this sentence: I want to write the next great _______.
JP: Harlequin Romance.
MS: What is the most challenging aspect of writing fiction?
JP: Writing. Fiction.
MS: What are the biggest setbacks you've encountered as a writer?
JP: My sister dying in the middle of me writing Anthem. Very uninspiring.
MS: What's your least noble reason for writing?
JP: I want a cottage.
MS: Who is your ideal reader?
JP: Anyone with a brain and twenty-eight bucks.
MS: What's the best way to kill a character?
JP: Throw them off a cliff, slow down time, and watch them drop. Spectacular.
MS: On a scale of one to James Frey, how autobiographical is your work?
JP: Frey's second-cousin's sister's niece--or somewhere thereabouts.
MS: Write a haiku about your latest work.
JP: noise music death
versions of salvation
hum me your anthem