Tamai Kobayashi has brought a new voice to her coming-of-age novel Prairie Ostrich. (Link to my review) and is no doubt going to be one of the best novels released in 2014. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.
1) How has the reaction been to Prairie Ostrich so far? Has there been any particular memorable feedback to the novel so far?
A: The reaction has been very, very favourable with many reviews remarking on the character of Egg, her resilience and her vulnerability. The ostriches have been a hit, with discussions of the role of birds in the book. Readers have pointed out the “fresh take” that Prairie Ostrich gives to the coming of age novel.
2) Who are your favourite writers? What are you reading right now?
A: I love reading Anne Carson, her poetry and her essays. Have just finished Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. Donna Tartt’s Secret History is waiting for me on the shelf. I am a fan of Junot Diaz and Haruki Murakami. I loved Hiromi Goto’s Darkest Light – a YA title.
3) When you write do you get inspiration from your own life or from the lives of others for your stories?
A: Any inspiration from my life or from the lives of others, from films and novels – all this gets twisted in the maw of narrative. Transformed in the guts of writing.
4) Have you done any public readings of “Prairie Ostrich” If yes, how was that experience for you?
A: I have done several readings, in Toronto, in Waterloo, in Hamilton. Each reading was different. But it is still difficult, to find that perfect read, that pace.
5) Has Prairie Ostrich been read by any book clubs as of yet? If yes, did you participate in the discussions at all?
A: I believe it is being read in Edmonton, or will be read soon. I haven’t received any feedback yet.
6) You seem to have a presence on Facebook? Does being on FB help you with your writing at all?
A: It is more a connective line to other writers, to events and readings. Some go to meetup/writeups but I don’t think that is my kettle of fish. Interesting, though.
7) Are working on any new writing right now? If yes, are there details you can share with you fans?
I am trying to write 1) a speculative fiction dystopian novel 2) a collection of children’s short stories. Trying.