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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The 'Surprising' Act of Writing

“The act of writing surprises me all the time. A miraculous thing happens when you have an idea and you want to convert it into words... and then you start to create a work of art, and that's another miracle, and it remains mysterious to the writer, or to this writer anyway.” – Janette Turner Hospital

Born in November, 1942, Turner Hospital grew up in Australia but has spent most of her adult life in either Canada or the U.S.   “All my writing, in a sense, revolves around the mediation of one culture (or subculture) to another,” she said.    While she is best known for her novels, she also is an accomplished and productive short story writer and has won numerous awards in both genres.
One of Turner Hospital's most accomplished novels is Borderline, simultaneously a narrative thriller and a story of moral speculation and inquiry.  Set on the “borderline” of Canada and the U.S., its storyline also focuses on where to draw the "borderline" between intrusion into others' lives and responsibility for them.      
                                           Among her many awards are Canada’s Seal Award, the CDC Literary Prize, and the Australian National Book Council Award.   Also a teacher of both literature and creative writing, she has been writer-in-residence at major universities in Australia, Canada, England and the U.S. and recently has been Visiting Writer-in-Residence in the MFA program at Columbia University.

“The themes of dislocation and connection are constant in my work,” she said.  “So are the themes of moral choice and moral courage. I am always putting my characters into situations of acute moral dilemma . . . to find out what they will do.”

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