The 2018 BC Book Prizes will be awarded in Vancouver on Friday night. Among the nominees is Next Year for Sure, the debut novel by Vancouver writer Zoey Leigh Peterson. The book, which deals with polyamory, is a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (a strong category that also includes David Chariandy’s Brother; Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson; Andrea MacPherson’s What We Once Believed; and Everything Is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person, by Daniel Zomparelli).
Next Year for Sure was also long-listed for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize and is a finalist for the 2018 Lambda Literary Award. Ms. Peterson, who was born in England, grew up in the United States and calls Vancouver home, is currently living in Austin, Tex. That’s where we sent her our Proust Questionnaire.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’d live with the people of Vancouver, but on unstolen land.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to draw. Or sing. Or sleep through the night. But the most honest answer is I’d choose to be a better writer.
An object you still own from your childhood?
My childhood encyclopedia – 3,000 pages of obsolete facts and misconceptions.
Bike, walk or drive?
These days, walk. Also, a big shout-out to public transit.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Replacing books I already own with prettier copies of the same book.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A strong friend massaging my shoulders from now until the moment I die.
What is your greatest fear?
The world ending before we do.
Which living person do you most admire?
I think it’s dangerous to put any single person in that position, but I admire the communities who are standing up for refugees and other displaced people.
What was your first paying job?
Collecting discarded tin cans to sell for scrap. And lots of babysitting.
What is the best present you’ve ever been given?
Someone very dear gave me a handmade book of all our in-jokes.
Least favourite holiday?
Halloween, by a mile.
Who are your favorite writers?
An impossible question, but Grace Paley and Missy Elliott.
If you could be a fictional character for one day, who would it be?
Batgirl. Always Batgirl.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Little; tiny; small. I always want to make everything small.
What do you most value in your friends?
Growth and change and deepening complexity.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lack of empathy.
What life lesson have you learned this year?
If life suddenly loses all meaning, go get a blood test.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be a lot shorter. I would fit in your pocket.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I still love everyone I’ve ever loved.