Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

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The Proust Questionnaire, with Bonnie Ferrante

Bonnie Ferrante

Thunder Bay novelist Bonnie Ferrante has published three novels with Noble Romance Publishing (Young Adult division). She has won several writing contests and has published poetry, short fiction, newspaper columns, children?s stories, accounts and lectures in periodicals, anthologies, magazines, newspapers and on-line for CBC. In 2014, Tradewind Books will publish her first Canadian novel.

In her answers to Proust Questionnaire, Bonnie tells us about her dream of happiness, her favourite flower, her greatest extravagance 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?
Being able to create, to travel, to garden, connect with family and grow old with my husband.

What is your idea of misery?
A world where poverty, violence and prejudice continue to grow.

Where would you like to live?
I love where I live, Thunder Bay, although I wish there was less traffic noise from my yard and I wish it wasn't so far from everything else. I also wish I could escape the cold for a while every winter, though. It's a bit much. On May 3 it was still snowing. I'd probably like to live in Stratford, Ontario.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Compassion, honesty, creativity, intelligence, wit, commitment, masculinity.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Compassion, honesty, creativity, intelligence, wit, determination, confidence.

What is your chief characteristic?

What is your principal fault?

What is your greatest extravagance?
I'm not extravagant about most things. My husband might say gardening. It's a little alarming how much money I spend on dirt.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

What is your favourite virtue?

What is your favourite colour?
Red, all shades.

What is your favourite flower?
Pink Asiatic lily.

What is your favourite bird?
Robin because it means spring really is coming no matter how miserable the weather.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Shakespeare, Tolkien, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood, Jodi Picoult, Robert J. Sawyer, Jane Yolen, Lois Lowry, C. S. Lewis, Patrick Ness, Scott Westerfeld, Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Thich Nhat Hanh, H.H. Dalai Lama, Philippa Gregory. Some change over time and some, like Shakespeare, are eternal.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Thich Nhat Hanh, Ghandi, Nellie McClung, Emily Stowe, Shinran Shonin, Nelson Mandela, H.H Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Laura Secord, Roberta Bondar, David Suzuki, Emily Carr, Princess Diana, Terry Fox, Siddhartha Gautama, Elizabeth Blackwell, Susanna Moodie, Farley Mowat, Salman Rushdie.

Who is your favourite painter?
This is difficult. The entire Group of Seven, especially Jackson. I love the Impressionists as well, especially Monet.

Who is your favourite musician?
Freddie Mercury, as far as vocalists go, he's the untouchable Queen.

What is your favourite food?
Chocolate, specifically 70% dark, on or in anything or just by itself.

What is it you most dislike?

What is your motto?
The glass is already broken.

Bonnie Ferrante is a member of CANSCAIP. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In. For information on how to purchase her books, please visit her website or

Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati on Open Book.


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