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Friday, April 15, 2016

Adding emotional reality

“Fiction allows you to embody certain ideas and give them an emotional reality. The characters allow you to get close viscerally to an idea.”  Anne Michaels

Michaels, born on this date in 1958, is a Canadian born poet and novelist and adjunct professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of English.

Among her many writing awards are a handful for her first book of poetry, The Weight of Oranges, including the Commonwealth Prize and The National Magazine Award for Poetry.   But it was her first novel Fugitive Pieces, that was most honored, earning the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, the Orange Prize for Fiction, and the Guardian Fiction Prize.  The versatile Michaels also spends her “free time” composing – particularly musical scores for theater. 

And while she has been honored as the new Poet Laureate of Toronto (since the middle of 2015) she said she probably most enjoys writing fiction.

“It's a fantastic privilege to spend three or four 
hundred pages with a reader,” she said.    
“You have time to go into certain questions that are painful or difficult or complicated. That's one thing that appeals to me very much about the novel form.”

Michaels is an advocate of teaching reading and writing to kids and in keeping journals.  “I started to write things down, as a very young child, wanting to find a way to remember - to keep close, somehow - moments that made an impression on me.”  And now those writingsare making an equal impression on the reading public thanks to her many and varied works.

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