Seen Reading interviews WordFest attendee Braydon Beaulieu

Hi, all! It’s Julie Wilson, author of Seen Reading, and throughout WordFest 2012, I’ll be checking in each day with a new festival attendee. I’ll ask the same five questions and we’ll see just how varied the responses will be.

First up, is Braydon Beaulieu.

Twitter: @braydonbeaulieu 

Braydon and I have known each other on Twitter for years, but it took his move from Windsor to Calgary, and my appearance at this year’s WordFest, for us to finally meet in person at WordFeast, WordFest’s annual auction drive. It was held at River Cafe, and, my good gravy, was it a good time. Incredible ambiance and food, and the conversation weren’t bad, neither.

Julie Wilson: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at WordFest 2012?

Braydon Beaulieu: Rawi Hage‘s novel Cockroach (House of Anansi Press) was a huge inspiration for my own writing at the Master’s level, so it will be nice to put a face to the person who wrote that.

JW: What is the book you’re currently reading? The very book on your person?

BB: Right now, I’m frantically reading Richard III because I’m presenting something on it, uh, tomorrow. And I just finished reading The Perverse Library, (York: Information as Material, 2010) by Craig Dworkin, which is fantastic.

A library is print in its gaseous state, filling every available space and then increasing pressure—compressing, rotating, double shelving—until, according to the constant required by Boyle’s Law, either the current container breaks, loosing books onto new shelves and stacks, or else the volume stabilizes, stabilizing volumes. (14)

JW: What’s your favourite book of the past year? (Note: I hate categorizations such as Favourite, but, you know, we do have our favourites. I want to know yours!)

BB: Natalie Zina Walschots’ DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains (Insomniac Press, with illustrations by Evan Munday) is absolutely fantastic. The poetry is so visceral and I’m a comic book nerd, so it was nice to see those characters explored in a poetic medium. You don’t see people writing Batman poetry very often.

JW: She has, I think, invented the genre of supervillain-ry poet-ry.

BB: Absolutely, and that’s actually what I’m working on right now in my class with Christian Bök: super hero poetry. Definitely inspired by what Natalie wrote.

JW: What’s your favourite book of all-time?

BB: It depends on what day you’re asking me.

JW: Let’s say, I’m asking you today.

BB: Then I would probably say Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief (originally published by McClelland & Stewart). Just the music of the prose. A lot of prose writers often forget the poetry of their prose. In No Great Mischief, you can almost hear the coastline.

JW: You wake up on a desert island. There’s a bag beside you. Among other items, there’s a book. What’s the book?

BB: Can I ask what the other items are?

JW: It’s your bag.

BB: Probably a first-aid kit?

JW: Well, here’s the thing. You don’t prepare to go to a desert island.

BB: But was it a plane crash? Because I’d read something different on a plane than if—

JW: Well, hold on, Braydon Beaulieu! Let’s think this through. I guess there could be a portal and you were transferred from your bed?


BB: Is this the island of my subconscious?

JW: I’d say so, yes.

BB: Then it has to be a book that’s closely related to my subconscious.

JW: Are you allowed to speak your subconscious aloud? Allowed. Aloud. (That was fun.)

BB: Maybe it’s a book that has yet to be written.

JW: Let’s say it has.

BB: I’m making this difficult!

JW: No; but you might be making it difficult for the next person, because I’m giving this a deeper think.

BB: Well, I know it’s not The Bible, because it has no place in my subconscious.

JW: That’s quite a statement.

BB: Well, I think a lot of people would take The Bible to a desert island.

JW: Because the stories are so good?

BB: It’s long. It would keep you occupied. You might not last long enough, though, to read the whole thing.

JW: The paper’s awfully thin. Could that be useful somehow?

BB: It wouldn’t burn well. Oh, there we go! I would bring The Complete Illustrated Shakespeare because the paper’s so thick and it would burn very well.

JW: And when you’ve lost all language, because you have no one to communicate with, you could still look at the pictures.

BB: I will burn the plays and save the pictures.

[more laughter]

JW: I think that’s a good place to end . . .

Thanks for playing, Braydon!


To follow along with my reader sightings, and to contribute your own—no matter where you live—use the hashtag #seenreading.

If you’re joining us at WordFest 2012, be sure to also include the hashtag #wordfest2012.

And if you see me wandering about, please do say hello. I’d love to know what you’re reading!


Julie Wilson is The Book Madam (@bookmadam), a publishing professional who splits her time between Toronto and San Diego.

She’s an active reader ambassador, coach, and conduit, and creator/author of Seen ReadingFreehand Books & HarperCollins (ebook)—a collection of microfictions written in response to people who read in public. (WordFest’s festival bookseller, Pages on Kensington, also has copies on hand, along with some keen magnetic Seen Reading bookmarks. Stop on by!)

Follow Julie as The Literary Voyeur at @seenreading.

Visit her online homes at and

Julie appears at WordFest 2012 at the following events:

Name Your Sources
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
5-6:30 p.m.
Vertigo Theatre Centre, Studio
with Deni Y. Bechard, Russell Wangersky and Rachel Wyatt

How Should a Writer Be?
Saturday, October 13, 2012
1:30-2:30 p.m.
The Banff Centre
with Joe Meno and Susan Swan


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