25th Trillium Award

The Proust Questionnaire, with Kayt Burgess

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Kayt Burgess

The latest edition of the unparalleled Found Press Quarterly is now available. FPQ7 includes singles by Andrew Forbes, Daniel Karasik, Kayt Burgess and Chad Pelley.

Kayt Burgess, author of the story The Soprano," is a writer, artist and musician who was born in Manitouwadge, Ontario and grew up in Elliot Lake. She studied classical music at the University of Western Ontario and has a Master?s degree in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. Her novel Heidegger Stairwell was published by 3 Day Books and Arsenal Pulp Press in 2012.

In answers her to Proust Questionnaire, Kayt tells us about her idea of misery, her favourite authors 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?
To spend many years adventuring, inventing stories, singing songs and creating a meaningful life with those I love.

What is your idea of misery?
A 9-5 job pushing paper followed by a two-hour commute.

Where would you like to live?
At this juncture I would like to live on a houseboat and travel according to weather and whim.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
See below.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Integrity, tolerance, sense of humour, intelligence and kindness.

What is your chief characteristic?
I believe there are two: creativity and neophilia.

What is your principal fault? I?m irresponsible.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I can?t narrow that down because I am an extravagant person.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
I?m tolerant of insecurity.

What do you value most about your friends?

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
I dislike that I?m fearful and self-destructive.

What is your favourite virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?
I can?t help but be a writer/musician, but I always wanted to be an Astrophysicist.

What would you like to be?
I would like to be brave.

What is your favourite colour?
I love colour in general, but my favourites would have to be violet, coral, turquoise and emerald green.

What is your favourite flower?
Orchids, hydrangeas and peonies are some of my favourite flowers.

What is your favourite bird?
The songbirds that wake up just in time to sing me to sleep (around 4:30 am).

What historical figures do you admire the most?
Leonardo da Vinci, Hypatia of Alexandria and Clara Schumann.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
To name a handful: Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Hermann Hesse, Toni Morrison and Vladimir Nabokov.

Who is your favourite painter?

Who is your favourite musician?
There are far too many to list, but I am a musician because I discovered the compositions of Chopin when I was 14.

What is your favourite food?
Kaeng phet and Pavlova.

What is your favourite drink?
Elderflower cordial.

What is it you most dislike?
Injustice. Dirty dishes.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
I wish I were well-spoken.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
I never feel accomplished.

For more information about "The Soprano" and to download your copy, please visit the FPQ website.

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

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