Scotiabank Giller Prize Spotlight: Fawn Parker

September 11, 2022

Fawn Parker

Fawn Parker’s novel What We Both Know has been longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Fawn Parker is the author of the novels Set-Point and Dumb-Show and the poetry collection Jolie Laide. She is co-founder of BAD NUDES Magazine and Bad Books Press, and president at The Parker Agency. Her story, Feed Machine, was longlisted for the 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. Parker lives between Toronto, Ontario, and Fredericton, New Brunswick.

What/who inspires you to write?

I process my emotions by writing. Often, I don’t know how I feel about something until I’ve written it into a story. I guess you could say life inspires me to write!

Do you have a favourite passage/quote from a book?

One of my favorite passages is the beginning of If on a winter’s night a traveller: “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, …”

Where is your favourite place to write?

My favourite place to write is at my desk in my home office in Fredericton. If I’m feeling blocked, I keep a notebook with me and make notes as I go about my day. It doesn’t help me too much to force it when I’m in front of a computer.

Do you have a tradition for every time you finish a book?

When I finish writing a book, I like to print it out and see how it feels. Of course, it always feels the same: a stack of printer paper. But to me it’s exciting. When I finish reading a book, I still feel proud of myself, because I had a big problem with never finishing novels until 6 or so months ago.

What is your favorite CanLit book?

I love Gail Scott’s book Heroine and actually everything of hers. I also love Cody Caetano’s Half-Bads in White Regalia.

What would your job be if you weren’t an author?

Before I got into school for creative writing, I was studying ASL interpretation, so I bet I’d be doing that if I weren’t writing.

What is your favourite book from childhood?

In childhood I liked that classic book, Goodnight Moon.

Is there a book that you find yourself reading over and over again?

I haven’t reread too many novels, but I did read Jane Bowle’s Two Serious Ladies twice. I think maybe also a Lynn Crosbie book.

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I’ve wanted to be anything!

What inspired you to write your Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated book?

I wanted to write a draft in thirty days, and I had a fragment of an idea. I don’t think it would have been the book that it is if I hadn’t been so immersed in the story for that period of time. I also wanted to write about memory and abuse, and I had a sense of the protagonist. It’s hard for me to explain but I knew how the world felt and I wanted to find out what it was like on the page.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope readers don’t ask themselves if they would do what the protagonist does. I hope instead they experience her and see her for who she is.

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