Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with George A. Walker

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Ten Questions with George A. Walker

Author, illustrator, bookmaker, wood engraver and teacher George A. Walker talks to Open Book about A is for ALICE (The Porcupine's Quill), books, a café and his next project.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book.

George A. Walker:

A is for ALICE is a collection of quotes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with a selection of wood engravings from the 96 wood engravings I made for the limited edition of the book I did with the Cheshire Cat Press in 1988.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

GAW:

Carroll’s witty word plays are timeless and those interested in Carolinian things will find this book fun to read.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

GAW:

The Tango Palace Coffee Company café is where I write and refresh myself with an invigorating elixir known as a Tango Latte. I have a favourite table there. Don’t ask as I don’t want you to sit there.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

GAW:

A hand-printed book! I set the type and made paper with two other OCA students for a limited edition of Robertson Davies essay, On Being a Professional. Does that count? I didn’t write it but then I learned that Davies uses a lot of ‘t’s’ in his text. You can only find that out if you hand set the text with moveable type.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

GAW:

The recognition of Tim and Elke Inkster with the Order of Canada medal was an important cultural moment for Canadian writers of fiction and artists of visual prose. Canadian writing can only influence people if it continues to be published and Tim and Elke have been doing this for over 35 years.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

GAW:

Welcome to Canada by David Carpenter
This Is My Country, What's Yours?: A Literary Atlas of Canada by Noah Richler
Unforgettable Canada: 100 Destinations by George Fischer and Noel Hudson

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

GAW:

The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future by Robert Darnton.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

GAW:

“Be kind to yourself” was what Bill Poole told me.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

GAW:

Patience, fortitude and an understanding that rejection is a part of the processes, is all the advice one needs. Write with a passion for your subject and not with an obsession to be published.

OBT:

What is your next project?

GAW:

A wordless novel about Tom Thomson!


George A. Walker is an award-winning wood engraver, book artist, teacher, author and illustrator who has been creating artwork and books, and publishing at his private press since 1984. Walker’s popular courses in book arts and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, where he is Associate Professor, have been offered continuously since 1985. For over twenty years Walker has exhibited his wood engravings and limited edition books internationally, often in association with The Loving Society of Letterpress (and The Binders of Infinite Love) and the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild ( C B B A G ). Among many other book projects, Walker has also illustrated two hand-printed books written by the British author Neil Gaiman. Walker is the illustrator of the first Canadian edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass books (Cheshire Cat Press). George A. Walker was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art for his contribution to the cultural area of Book Arts.

For more information about A is for ALICE please visit The Porcupine's Quill website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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