Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Barbara Reid

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Barb Reid

Barbara Reid is the author of the children's book, Picture A Tree (Scholastic Canada). You can read more about Barbara and her books at her website.

In her answers to The Proust Questionnaire, Barbara tells us about the natural talent she'd most like to possess, Robert Falcon Scott and her love for what she does.

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?
Creating something that connects with another person.

What is your idea of misery?
Failing to communicate.

Where would you like to live?
Where I live now, but also somewhere else, with no responsibilities, for one month a year.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Sense of humour, kindness.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Sense of humour, kindness.

What is your principal fault?

What do you value most about your friends?
That they are true friends.

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 occupation?

What would you like to be?
What I am, a children’s author and illustrator.

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favourite flower?

What is your favourite bird?

What historical figure do you admire the most?
(Robert Falcon) Scott of the Antarctic.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
C.S. Lewis, the Grimms, Hans Christian Anderson, Rumer Godden, and many more.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Reepicheep the mouse, Stig of the Dump, The Scarlett Pimpernell, Bugs Bunny.

Who are your heroes in real life?
The people who just get things done for the greater good, instead of wringing their hands and dithering.

Who is your favourite painter?
Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

What is your favourite drink?
A cold beer after working outdoors.

What is it you most dislike?
Wasting time.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
A great singing voice.

How do you want to die?

What is your current state of mind?
All over the map.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Still working on it.


Barbara Reid is best known for her vibrant Plasticine™ illustrations in such picture books as The Party, Gifts, Have You Seen Birds? and Two by Two. Most recently The Subway Mouse earned her the prestigious Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award. Barbara was born in Toronto, Ontario, where she currently lives with her husband and two daughters.

For more information about Picture A Tree, please visit the Scholastic 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 on Open Book.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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