The release of Sheila Heti’s debut novel, Ticknor — following a highly visible short-story collection, The Middle Stories, in 2000 — has kicked off a round of profiles.
CBC Arts plays up House of Anansi Press’s “Not the usual suspects” ad campaign — which places Heti alongside Michael Winter, Thomas King, Margaret Atwood, and Ken Babstock — and asks the author about reaction to her work. (“There’s nothing more baffling than reading reviews saying, ‘Why is Sheila Heti trying to annoy me?’ As if I wrote The Middle Stories to alienate or irritate people,” she tells writer Andrea Curtis.)
In U of T Magazine, meanwhile, writer Micah Toub (also a regular Q&Q contributor) discusses Heti’s restless curiosity. “Is everyone interesting? Heti seems to believe it. In The Middle Stories, her characters were often generically identified – the plumber, the middleman, the poet – but she infuses their lives with fantastical events. Similarly, in Ticknor, Heti delves into the mind of a man who thinks he is worthless, but in showing him attention, proves he’s not. Heti tested the notion in real life by creating a venue for ‘average’ people to speak publicly about the things they really care about. That venue is Trampoline Hall, a monthly lecture series held in a variety of Toronto bars, which Heti founded three years ago with her friend Misha Glouberman.”
And eye weekly focuses on Heti’s recent decamping to Montreal, “where she’s sequestering herself to write.” Eye writer Damian Rogers also addresses Ticknor‘s slim (109 pages) length. “It’s not beans, you’re not getting fewer beans,” Heti argues. “[Focusing on length is] a misunderstanding of what a book gives you, because when you’re done with the book, you have it in your head, it’s not long or short, it just exists. What you want is something that you can carry around with you in your head. I often think if something is short and well shaped and kind of perfect, it just kind of sits there.”
Click here for the CBC Arts profile of Heti
Click here for the eye weekly profile of Heti
Click here for the U of T Magazine profile of Heti