Author Interview: Yann Martel

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yann Martel:
Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi. --Goodreads
  • In your novel, The Life of Pi, the main characters are represented by people and animals. What animal would represent you and why?
First off, a slight correction: it's Life of Pi, with no The. The Life of Pi implies that there's only one such life, and since Life of Pi is about the multiple possible interpretations of life, I didn't want something so definite. I didn't like the sound of A Life of Pi, so I finally decided not to have any article at all. Spread the word. Even people who love the novel get it wrong.
To answer your question, I'd be happy to be represented by a sloth. As I say in the novel, it strikes me as a meditative monk of an animal, quietly pondering the wonder and mystery of life as it hangs from its branch.

  • As a class, we've read A Modest Proposal, Their Eyes Were Watching God, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Animal Farm from the recommendations you made for Stephen Harper. We're leaving for college in August, and we have the summer before to expand our literary and intellectual repertoire. What books do you recommend we read this summer?
Well, have a look at the other recommendations I made to Stephen Harper. Otherwise, right now I'm reading a dazzling novel by the English writer David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. It's highly readable, very clever, and wonderfully written. 

  • What has been influential to your writing career?
Many things. My parents, who encouraged me to read then supported me when I started to write. The books that I've read over the course of my life; they showed all the wondrous things that other writers have done with words. The teachers I had, who opened up my dark mind and filled it with intellectual wonders. The various bodies that give grants to artists here in Canada, both at the federcal and provincial levels; they allowed me to have time to write without worrying about money. My publishers, who remained steadfast in their faith in me even when my first books sold poorly. Readers, who picked up my books and opened their hearts and minds to them. And finally, my own creativity, that spark in my mind that wanted to express itself on the page and pushed me and thrilled me and gave me a love of writing; nothing would have been possible without that initial talent and urge. But nothing would have been possible without all the other elements, either.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Yann Martel?  Want more of his literary genius?  You can find him HERE.  But don't forget to check out Nora's screaming-fan moment about Life of Pi.

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  1. How on Earth did you secure an interview with such a wonderful author? Wow!

    Sloths have always been my favourite animal, and for a similar reason. It made me smile the first time I read Life of Pi to learn that I was not alone.