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BEAUTIFUL BREVITY

Our Type Reader for September is Kyo Maclear


Kyo Maclear is everywhere this fall. She has two new picture books: The Liszts, about a family that make lists most usual and lists most unusual, and The Wish Tree  about a boy on a journey to prove there is such thing as a wish tree. Sure to be holiday favourites!

Come say hi to Kyo and her fellow Penguin Random House Young Readers authors at their Season's Readings event on November 14th at Type Books


KYO ANSWERS THE TYPE QUESTIONNAIRE
 
What is the first book you remember loving?
In Japanese: Momotarō. In English: Charlotte’s Web.
 
What is your favorite virtue in a book?
Beautiful brevity.
 
What do you appreciate most in a book character?
A funny bone.
 
What character (real or fictional) do you dislike the most?
Purists, pedants, the cruel and the boastful.
 
If you were to write a non-fiction book about anything, what would it be about?
I just wrote one about “birds, art, life” (forthcoming January 2017).  I’d like one day to write a book about something very, very singular and specific—maybe about a single plant, or what it’s like to be 15 years old. Ideally, this book would have a propulsive plot and contain maximum narrative suspense.
 
Your favourite prose authors?
Ali Smith, Ryszard Kapuściński, Virginia Woolf, Marguerite Duras, Annie Ernaux, James Baldwin, John Berger, Rebecca Solnit, Junot Diaz…
 
Your favourite poets?
Roy Kiyooka, Anne Carson, Emily Dickinson, Dionne Brand, Frank O’Hara, Seamus Heaney, Ruth Krauss, Yasiin Bey, Suzanne Buffam, Claudia Rankine, Alice Notley (via AroarA)…
 
Has a design or art book ever had an impact on your life, and if so, what was the impact?
Zone ½: The Contemporary City, edited by Michel Feher and Sanford Kwinter. Enamored with the way this book’s form modeled its content (urbanism), I went to work for its designer (Bruce Mau) for four years.
 
Do you read on public transportation?
Yes.
 
What qualities do you want in a book you’re read while traveling?
A book that behaves like an ocean sponge—with pores and channels that permit thought flow and circulation. (i.e. a book that absorbs me but also absorbs and filters my travels.)
 
What book have you never read but have always meant to? Do you think you will ever read it?
Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. I read My Brilliant Friend this past summer but we never completely meshed. I can’t explain it. Outwardly it seems like something I’d love. I may try again.
 
What book do you pretend to have read, but in fact have not?
Hmm…maybe Ulysses (while trying to impress the father of a boy I had a crush on in high school. The father was an eminent Joycean scholar. I did not impress.)
 
If you could force a single celebrity to read a specific book in it’s entirety, who would you chose, and what book would you make them read?
A good book for a celebrity politician to read is The Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders. A good book for a celebrity publisher/editor to read is Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom.  Both offer a kind of tutelage in living/flourishing outside the mainstream-status quo. (Spoiler: generous and creative hearts win.)
 
What book(s) are you reading right now?
Memo for Nemo by William Firebrace (recommended by Type’s own Derek McCormack), The Fire this Time edited by Jesmyn Ward, Wenjack by Joseph Boyden, and Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce and Edith.


photography by Paul Dotey