Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Proust Questionnaire, with Sean Cranbury

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The Proust Questionnaire, with Sean Cranbury

Sean Cranbury, curator and host of Books on the Radio, lets us in on dream of happiness, his greatest extravagance, his heroes (real and fictional) 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" personality.

What is your dream of happiness?
A day at the races. Drinking juleps under a Kentucky sun. Soft focus. My horse wins. I take the money, rent a convertible and drive to California.

What is your idea of misery?
Those who would seek to poison and destroy my brothers.

Where would you like to live?
Tangiers. In Paul Bowles’ old house. Tangerines, mint tea, fresh breads everyday. Frequent forays to Interzone.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Imagination, courage, panache, smoking jacket, moustache twirling capability, Exile on Mainstreet.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Imagination, courage, smolder, strut, sardonic humour, no moustache, Exile in Guyville .

What is your chief characteristic?

What is your principal fault?
Leaping ahead of myself, forgetting to start at the beginning.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Frequent trips to the record store.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
Procrastination, self-doubt.

What do you value most about your friends?
Their imagination, patience and excellent musical taste.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Excuses made for maintaining the status quo.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?

What is your favourite virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?
Creator of new things that reveal our essential innocence and remind us of our abundant potential.

What would you like to be?
A traveller to remote locations. A photographer of rare flowers.

What is your favourite colour?
Breathless pale green of spring.

What is your favourite flower?
The poppy.

What is your favourite bird?
The Peregrine Falcon

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Joan of Arc.

What character in history do you most dislike?
Glenn Beck.

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Nabokov, Winterson, Bowles, Kerouac, Murakami.

Who are your favourite poets?
cummings, Tate, Bukowski, Carson, Bishop, Giovanni, Cave.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Winnie the Pooh, Sal Paradise, John Shade.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Soldiers, aid workers, journalists on the front lines in dangerous places like Afganistan, the Middle East and elsewhere.

Who is your favourite painter?
Sam Flores.

Who is your favourite musician?
David Holmes.

What is your favourite food?
Smoked BBQ pork side ribs with homemade sauce.

What is your favourite drink?
The increasingly rare perfectly poured Guinness.

What are your favourite names?
Tulameen, Osoyoos, Similkameen, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, Nahanni, Lillooet

What is it you most dislike?
Unimaginative, bean counting, fear mongering, snivelling cynics.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
The ability to dance like Christopher Walken.

How do you want to die?
Rapturously writing. In mid-sentence at the end of the book. Just to leave ‘em hanging.

What is your current state of mind?
Unreasonably optimistic.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Surviving my twenties.

What is your motto?
Reality is what you can get away with.


Sean Cranbury is a writer, dj, social media consultant living in Vancouver. He is the curator and host of Books on the Radio, broadcast on Simon Fraser radio CJSF 90.1 FM.

He comes from an independent bookselling and independent publishing background.

Sean likes partnering with creative people to co-create cool projects like the BookCamp Vancouver 2009, Advent Book Blog, Eyes of Vancouver Collaborative Fiction, W2 Real Vancouver Writers Series. He also spends time idling on the lawns of the spacious Book Madam Estates twirling daffodils and counting clouds.

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

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