25th Trillium Award

The Proust Questionnaire, with Alma Fullerton

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Alma Fullerton

Alma Fullerton has just released her new children's book, A Good Trade (Pajama Press), illustrated by Karen Patkau. Written for children ages five and up, A Good Trade tells the story of Kato, a young Ugandan boy who spends his days walking great distances and facing grave dangers to collect water for his family. But one day is different — an aid worker arrives with a gift that will change Kato's life, and now Kato wants to do something in return.

In her answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Alma tells us her favourite poets and authors, what she most values in people and her greatest achievement.

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?
To be surrounded by family and friends.

What is your idea of misery?
Never to have had my children.

Where would you like to live?
Close to the ocean.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Honesty, positivity attitude (but not always because I think someone who is positive all of the time is kind of fake) and compassion for others.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
True friendship.

What is your principal fault?
Self doubt.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Procrastination and negativity.

What do you value most about your friends?
Honestly and the willingness to open up.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Intolerance of others.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
Self doubt and procrastination.

What is your favourite virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?

What would you like to be?
A full time writer/illustrator.

What is your favourite colour?
Depends on the day. Today it's purple.

What is your favourite flower?
Whatever is in bloom.

What is your favourite bird?

What character in history do you most dislike?

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Harper Lee, Kate DiCamillo, Linda Urban, Cindy Lord, Kathryn Erskine ? way too many to list.

Who are your favourite poets?
Sonya Sones, Sylvia Plath, E. Barrett Browning,

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Winn Dixie, Scout Finch, any strong character with a fantastic voice.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Anyone who stays true to themselves.

Who is your favourite painter?
Van Gogh and Andy Warhol.

Who is your favourite musician?

What is your favourite food?
I LOVE food ? almost all of it. But I can't eat pasta or rice, I'm allergic to them. I like breathing more than pasta.

What is your favourite drink?

What is it you most dislike?

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
I'd love to be able to sing.

How do you want to die?

What is your current state of mind?
Usually I can't find my mind to know the state of it.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My children.

What is your motto?
Just be yourself.


Alma Fullerton?s free-verse novels for juvenile and young adult readers have earned her multiple nominations and awards. Libertad (Fitzhenry and Whiteside), was nominated for the Governor General?s Award; won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award and the CLA Book of the Year Honor; and appeared on the Bank Street Books Best Children?s Books list. And Burn (Cormorant Books) was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children?s Literature Award and the CLA Book of the Year Award. Alma lives in Midland, Ontario. You can visit her website here: www.almafullerton.com

For more information about A Good Trade, please visit Pajama Press's website.

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

Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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