Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Peter Behrens

Last year Peter Behrens was interviewed for the CBC's Words at Large.

Part of the interview:

Why did you decide to become a writer?

When I was in grade 4, I remember standing in the kitchen with my sister Anne — who was in grade 5 — washing dishes. And Anne at one point turned to me and said "What do you like at school?" And I said "composition". And she said "Wait until you get to grade 5 — it gets really hard." And somehow, composition never did. So I just went on from there — it was just a ceaseless continuum from grade 4 composition to novel.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Some books you read when you're 14 that you couldn't bear to read as an adult because they aren't really very good books. But they worked as books do, they threw you into a world. They had that kind of magic and power. So I just remember reading, for example, Grapes of Wrath, when I was 14, and it was pitched perfectly for me then. I can't read it now. When I first read Joyce in my early 20s — not so much Ulysses but the stories in Dubliners — those were very powerful for me. And at a later stage, when I read the great Canadians of this golden age — particularly people like Alistair MacLeod — that was really important to me.

Read the entire interview.

--Marshal Zeringue