Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Shane Peacock

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October 1, 2010 - Shane Peacock is Open Book's October 2010 Writer in Residence. In his answer to the Proust Questionnaire, Shane tells us idea of misery, his favourite virtue, his motto and more.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.


What is your dream of happiness?
To be able to write like Shakespeare and Dickens, paint like Van Gogh and create music like The Beatles and Bob Dylan.

What is your idea of misery?
To have no artistic ability of any kind.

Where would you like to live?
At 221B Baker Street in a fictionalized Victorian London.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?

What is your chief characteristic?

What is your principal fault?

What is your greatest extravagance?
I wish I had one.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Relentlessness and obsessiveness.

What do you value most about your friends?
Kindness and generosity.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

What is your favourite virtue?
Sacrificing for others.

What is your favourite occupation?
It’s a tie between being a professional hockey player and an author.

What would you like to be?
A member of The Beatles... who kept them together.

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favourite flower?

What is your favourite bird?

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Jesus Christ.

What character in history do you most dislike?
Adolph Hitler and Heinrich Himmler.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, James Joyce and Nathanael West

Who are your favourite poets?
William Shakespeare, William Blake and Emily Dickinson.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Stephen Dedalus, Sherlock Holmes and Pip

Who are your heroes in real life?
My father, my wife and Nelson Mandela.

Who is your favourite painter?
Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat.

Who is your favourite musician?
Paul McCartney.

What is your favourite food?

What is your favourite drink?
Apple cider.

What are your favourite names?
Sophie, Hadley, Johanna, Sam, Jackson and Susan.

What is it you most dislike?
Prejudice and racism.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
Musical ability.

How do you want to die?
While writing something meaningful.

What is your current state of mind?

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Being a good father and reasonably good husband while maintaining a career as a writer.

What is your motto?
The artist is not a citizen.


Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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