Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Dirty Dozen, with Nicolas Billon

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September 28, 2014 - We are very proud to present Governor General's Literary Award winner for Drama, Nicolas Billon, as our October 2014 writer-in-residence at Open Book: Toronto.

Known for his dark humour and pitch-perfect dialogue, Nicolas returns this season with a new play, Butcher, published by Coach House Books and premiering at Alberta Theatre Projects.

Considered one of Canada's finest young playwrights, Nicolas famously donated $5,000 from his $25,000 Governor General's Award winnings to The Theatre Centre in Toronto, which helped the prestigious organisation complete its move to a permanent home.

Given his creativity, it was no surprise that when Nicolas took on our Dirty Dozen series (where authors and artists are invited to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves), the results were wonderfully weird, fascinating and funny. Read on to hear about mustard, a tiny and beloved book collection and Nicolas' alternate calling as a software designer.

  1. When writing, I usually listen to dance music. And yes, I like the stuff.
  2. Heights make me feel queasy, though I have no issues flying.
  3. I love mustard. A lot.
  4. I enjoy team sports and I’m competitive. I play hockey and softball regularly, along with dodgeball and ultimate.
  5. I own about 25 books; basically, only my favourite works. As you can imagine, my library card gets a regular workout.
  6. I wrote software in high school, including a periodic table of the elements called “HyperElements”. It was released as shareware and was chosen as one of the top 30 shareware programs of 1995 by MacUser magazine. It was subsequently used in chemistry departments at several universities around the world.
  7. I love the ocean and scuba diving. I’ve seen three sharks while diving, and snorkeled with a whale shark.
  8. When it comes to writing, my touchstones are George Orwell and Albert Camus.
  9. Strawberries? No thanks.
  10. I know the words to pretty much every song on The White Room, the KLF’s 1991 album.
  11. I gather and track my time so that I can breakdown my usage and efficiency. I’m often shocked at how much time email takes out of a day.
  12. “Eclectic” is my favourite word in the English language.

Nicolas Billon’s work has been produced in Toronto, Stratford, New York and Paris. His triptych Fault Lines won the 2013 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Drama. He recently adapted his first play, The Elephant Song, into a feature film starring Bruce Greenwood, Xavier Dolan, Carrie-Anne Moss and Catherine Keener. His newest play is Butcher, which is published by Coach House Books and premieres at Alberta Theatre Projects in October 2014. You can visit him online at

Check out all the Dirty Dozen interviews in our archives.

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