Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Fictionista Elisabeth de Mariaffi

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Elisabeth de Mariaffi

In The Questionless Books Interview, I get a whole bunch of books people (from authors to editors to publishers to sales / publicity / production people, booksellers, designers, librarians, readers, etc) to "answer" a series of unspoken "questions". The results highlight a delightful mix of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector: from doom and gloom to sunshine and rainbows, and every irony in between.

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the author of the brand-spanking-new collection of short stories, How To Get Along With Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012). Her poetry and short fiction have been widely published in magazines across Canada, including Prism International, The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, This Magazine, and online at The Puritan. She's a former host of the popular Toronto reading series, Pivot Readings at the Press Club, and one of the wild minds behind the highly original Toronto Poetry Vendors, a small press that sells single poems by established Canadian poets through toonie vending machines. Elisabeth works as Marketing Coordinator for Breakwater Books, and is currently based in St. John's, where she lives with four children, a black dog, and a poet.

Elisabeth's Links:
How To Get Along With Women
Breakwater Books
Toronto Poetry Vendors
Pitch and Plug on Salty Ink

I am... Elisabeth de Mariaffi

I am known to... jump wildly into new projects, any new project, making them bigger and bigger in my mind, and despairing over their possibly-forever imperfection.

I do this in... spite of myself and the calming voices of those who truly like me.

I do this when... I should probably just take a nap.

At his/her core, a Writer is... an only child.

As opposed to an Author, who is... on stage.

A Writer is responsible for... the long quiet moments of long quiet thinking.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for... speaking in a loud and engaging voice.

At its core, Publishing is... activism.

As opposed to Editing, which is... crafty.

A Publisher should always... remember she is only as good as the last thing she chose to publish.

As opposed to an Editor, who should always... be paring away at the project at hand.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is... your heart.
As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is... a thing.

A Manuscript should always... have its blinders stripped away.

As opposed to a Book, which should always... feel whole.

At its core, Bookselling is... a conversation between friends.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is... the greatest show on earth.

The smallest unit of narrative is... the empty space after the last printed line. Or perhaps that’s the largest.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is... you’re hurtling toward your own incredible expanse of possibility. Don’t you want to know what happens next?

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is... on occasion, the hurtling.

In the future we will all... be surprised, and perhaps less often, regretful.

At his/her core, a Reader is... abstract.

However, the ideal Reader is... close enough to touch.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website

Go to George Murray’s Author Page