Aga Maksimowska will participate in Novelists for a New Age, a round table discussion on Sunday, October 21.IFOA: What are you reading right now?
Maksimowska: Annabel Lyon’s The Sweet Girl.
IFOA: Like Gosia, your protagonist in Giant, you immigrated to Canada from Poland as a child. You’ve said that the two of you have much in common, but in what ways are you different?
Maksimowska: Gosia is much more introverted than I was when I was 11. I made friends more easily than she does, participated in school life more actively, and processed my anger more effectively (mainly in my sketchbook and on the volleyball court). The strange thing though is that Gosia is a much better public speaker than I ever was. I wish I could give a speech at a full-school assembly. Death and public speaking: two of my biggest fears. Two of the most common fears, I suppose, which makes me completely ordinary. Gosia is an extraordinary kid.
IFOA: You’ve just written, sold, edited, published and launched your first novel. What’s been the biggest surprise along the way?
Maksimowska: The support Giant received in the CBC Readers’ Choice competition blew my mind. People have been so generous and positive with their interest, their feedback and their word of mouth. Public enthusiasm for this book has completely humbled and thrilled me. Having had this sort of start, I can’t wait to do it all over again with a second book.
IFOA: What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Maksimowska: See Sandra Ridley’s post on September 20. I share her penchant for sand dunes and Beau’s beer. Otherwise, I’m far too utilitarian to seek perfection. My best days are a sum of one item from each of the following columns:
my husband and daughter
a beach or a shoreline
a ravine or a hiking trail
a house I know
crisp Ontario apples
IFOA: Finish this sentence: I can only write if…
Maksimowska: …the world is still and my brain is uncluttered. Five in the morning has provided me with inspiration and progress in the past. Once the baby quits waking up at 4-ish, I will return to my best writing time.
IFOA: Bonus question: International Festival of Authors in one word
Maksimowska: Rad (I don’t usually express myself in surfer speak, but there is no more economical word to sum up my feelings about this year’s IFOA. Alice Munro + the diversity of talent, events and locations + the accessibility to students + my overwhelming giddiness for being included among all these literary giants = radical for sure).
For more about Maksimowska, visit maksimowska.com.