Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

The Proust Questionnaire, with Jeff Lemire

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Credit: Jamie Hogge

Award-winning writer and cartoonist Jeff Lemire, born and raised on a small farm in Essex County, Ontario, has recently released his haunting and Twilight Zone-esque graphic novel The Underwater Welder (Top Shelf) to critical acclaim. In 2010, Jeff?s Essex County (Top Shelf) was named by the CBC?s Canada Reads program as one of the five Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade. Showing no signs of slowing down, Jeff is currently wrapping up his critically acclaimed series, Sweet Tooth (Vertigo) and has recently announced his upcoming science fiction limited series, Trillium. All while writing DC Comics' Animal Man and Justice League Dark monthly series. Phew!

In his answers to Proust Questionnaire, Jeff tells us some of his favourite things that influence and find their way into his books, his favourite fictional and nonfictional heroes (both of each category containing someone who really likes black coffee) and much 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?
Getting to make comics every day. Getting to be with my wife and son every day.

What is your idea of misery?
Not being able to work anymore. Not being able to create and tell stories.

What is your chief characteristic?
Hard work.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My ever growing collection of original comic book artwork.

What do you value most about your friends?
A sense of humor. Honesty.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Lack of a sense of humor. Dishonesty.

What is your favourite occupation?
Cartoonist, naturally.

What would you like to be?
Exactly who I am (or a left winger for the Toronto maple Leafs).

What is your favourite colour?
Red and Black.

What is your favourite flower?

What is your favourite bird?

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Joe Kubert and Jack Kirby.

What character in history do you most dislike?
Darth Vader.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Joseph Boyden, John Steinbeck, Arthur C. Clarke.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Will Bird from Joseph Boyden?s Through Black Spruce and Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks.

Who are your heroes in real life?
David Lynch, Alan Moore, Tom Waits, Eddie Campbell.

Who is your favourite painter?
Dave McKean.

Who is your favourite musician?
Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan.

What is your favourite drink?
Rye and Coke, eh.

What are your favourite names?
Gus and Lesley-Anne.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
Ability to play piano or be musical in any way.

How do you want to die?
At my drawing desk.

What is your current state of mind?

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My son.

What is your motto?
Keep your stick on the ice.


New York Times Bestselling author Jeff Lemire is the creator of the acclaimed monthly comic book series Sweet Tooth (DC/Vertigo), the award winning graphic novel Essex County (Top Shelf), and the recent graphic novel The Underwater Welder (Top Shelf). Now one of DC Comics? key writers, Jeff is currently writing Animal Man and Justice League Dark. He has also written the monthly adventures of Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Superboy and The Atom. In 2008, Jeff won the Schuster Award for Best Canadian Cartoonist and the Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging talent. He also won the American Library Association?s prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. He has been nominated for six Eisner Awards and five Harvey Awards. He currently lives and works in Toronto with his wife and son.

For more information about The Underwater Welder please visit the Top Shelf 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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