Transcript: Imprint season 12 episode 19 | Feb 07, 2001

Tina Srebotnjak stands in a studio with pieces of art in red and orange hanging in the background.

She’s in her late thirties, with short chestnut hair and bangs. She’s wearing glasses and a long gray woollen jacket.

Tina says HELLO.
I'M TINA SREBOTNJAK.
WELCOME TO ANOTHER EDITION OF
"IMPRINT."
TONIGHT RUTH RENDELL RETURNS.
THE MASTER OF BRITISH MYSTERY
HAS A NEW COLLECTION OF IS
SHORT STORIES.
AND A NEW COLLECTION FROM ERIKA
de VASCONCELOS.

A clip shows a pile of books on a coffee table.

The cover of Ruth’s Rendell’s "Piranha to scurfy" pops up. A magnifying glass over a book page illustrates the cover.

The cover of Erika de Vasconcelos’ "Between the stillness and the grove" appears. A picture of a young woman illustrates the cover.

Erica is in her mid-thirties, with chin length wavy brown hair. She wears glasses, a black top, a gray knit cardigan and a delicate necklace.

She says WE HAVE A GRAIN OF SAND.
WHAT CAN YOU DO BUT DRINK GOOD
WINE AND BE HAPPY.

Anita Desai appears on screen. She’s in her late fifties, with long straight graying hair in a low bun. She wears a black top and jacket.

She says THE BIG SHOCK FOR ME IS IT
WASN'T IN TECHNICOLOUR.

A poster of the movie "In custody" appears on screen.

Tina says AND ANITA DESAI
REACTS TO SEEING HER BOOK IN
FILM.

Anita says I COULD IMAGINE IT IN BLACK
AND WHITE.
I COULD SEE IT AS A GRITTY,
GRAINY BLACK-AND-WHITE FILM.
TO SEE IT IN GORGEOUS
TECHNICOLOUR WAS A SHOCK I
NEVER GOT OVER.

Theme music plays as the opening sequence rolls.

Fast clips show books and maps in hues of orange and red and a magnifying glass in the shape of a sun. The title "Imprint" appears on screen.

Tina says FIRST UP TONIGHT A
MASTER MYSTERY WRITER -- THAT'S
HARD TO SAY -- PUBLISHING A
NEW COLLECTION.
RUTH RENDELL IS AUTHOR OF
"ROAD RAGE" AND "HARM DONE."
MANY OF HER WORKS HAVE BEEN
ADAPTED FOR TELEVISION
WHERE WE COULD SEE CHIEF
INSPECTOR WEXFORD FIRSTHAND.

A slate appears with the caption "The Ruth Rendell Mysteries."

A clip from the show rolls.

A man and a woman of age get in a car.

A male character in his fifties says MIDDLE AGED WOMAN, YOUNG
BOY.
ALL PICKED UP BY TAXIS.
AND NOW ALL HAVE DISAPPEARED.

The woman of age is locked with a three other women.

She says WE NEED THE POLICE TO FIND
US.

A younger girl screams I CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE!

A middle-aged woman says AND SHE'S CLOSE TO
PERFECT.
WHAT IF SHE'S TRAPPED
SOMEWHERE?

An off male voice says BY THE MORNING WE NEED A --
IF NOT, THE FIRST OF THE
HOSTAGES WILL DIE.

On a screen, the phrase "This is Sacred Globe" is typed.

Tina says WELL.
RUTH RENDELL PUBLISHED A
COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES
CALLED "PIRANHA TO SCURPHY."
THAT'S THE TOPIC OF OUR BOOK
REVIEW.
WE HAVE BRONWYN DRAINIE AND
MARGARET CANNON.

Tina shows a copy of the book.

The caption changes to "Bronwyn Drainie. Cultural critic."

Bronwyn is in her early fifties, with short wavy blond hair.

She says I WILL TELL YOU ABOUT
PIRANHA TO SCURPHY.
IT'S A STORY ABOUT A DISTURBED
MAN WHO HAS DONE AWAY WITH
MUMMY, A MONSTROUS MOTHER
FIGURE RIGHT OUT OF PSYCHO.
IT'S ABOUT HOW GUILT PLAYS ON
THE MINDS OF THE VERY GUILTY,
CREATING ALL KINDS OF IMAGES
THAT AREN'T THERE.
A BIT LIKE MacBETH.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT IT IS IT'S
SET IN THE WORLD OF BOOKS.
THE SETTING IS A BOOK.
THE MURDER WEAPON IS A BOOK.
THE INSTRUMENT OF REVENGE IS A
BOOK AND ALL THAT PLAYS INTO
THE FACT I'M SURE RUTH RENDELL
IS USING THE STORY TO GET BACK
AT SOME OF HER READERS WHICH
WROTE LETTERS COMPLAINING TO
AUTHORS BUT THE TYPOS AND
GRAMMATICAL ERRORS.

The caption changes to "Margaret Cannon. Crime reviewer."

Margaret is in her mid- fifties, with short wavy blond hair. She wears glasses and a gray pullover.

Margaret says MYSTERY
WRITERS GET THOUSANDS OF
LETTERS FROM PEOPLE WHO DEVOTE
THEIR LIVES PICKING OUT THE
FACTUAL ERROR.
YOU COULDN'T HAVE USED THAT
POISON.

Tina says WE ALL KNOW POISON
DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT.
WHAT'S THE TITLE REFER TO?

Bronwyn says IT PLAYS
AN IMPORTANT PART IN THE PLOT
OF THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITAIN
CAN A.

Tina says YOU'RE A BIG FAN.
WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF THE
STORIES?

Margaret says THERE ARE
THREE CAREERS UNDER TWO NAMES.
THE INSPECTOR WEXFORD SERIES
WHICH THIS DOESN'T ENCOMPASS.
THERE'S NON-WEXFORD THRILLERS
THAT ARE THE KIND OF
PSYCHOLOGICAL TRHILLERS THAT WE
SEE IN "PIRANHA TO SCURPHY."
THEN THERE'S THE CHARACTER
DRIVEN STORIES THAT SHE WRITES
UNDER THE NAME OF BARBARA
VINE.
THESE ARE MY FAVOURITES.
MY FAVOURITE PIECE IN HERE IS
A VERY SHORT STORY CALLED "THE
WINK" WHICH IS A VERY -- IT'S
A VERY, VERY BARBARA VINE
STORY, AND I JUST LOVED IT.
IT'S A LITTLE JEWEL FROM
BEGINNING TO END.

Tina says WHICH IT ENDS WITH A
WINK.
WE WON'T GIVE AWAY MORE THAN
THAT.
THE WINK SAYS EVERYTHING.

Margaret says IT'S A
STORY THAT IS BUILT AROUND A
WINK.

Tina says YOU ARE NEW TO RUTH
RENDELL.
I THOUGHT THE STORIES WERE
GREAT.
DID YOU LIKE HER?

Bronwyn says SHE'S GOT
A CLEAN, CRISP STYLE THAT'S
EFFORTLESS TO READ.
I WAS QUITE TAKEN WITH LOTS OF
THE STORIES.
ALTHOUGH I DO FIND OFTEN WITH
SHORT STORIES THAT YOU READ IT
AND IT'S GONE.
IT'S LIKE A LITTLE PIECE --
LIKE A LITTLE BONBON.
ONCE THE TASTE IS GONE FROM
YOUR MOUTH YOU CAN'T REMEMBER
WHAT THE STORY WAS ABOUT.

Tina says NOW, MARGARET, DO YOU
BRING -- DOES ONE BRING A
DIFFERENT STYLE TO WRITING A
SHORT STORY THAN NOVELS?
DOES RUTH RENDELL?

Margaret says SURE.
THE SHORT STORY IS STILL ALIVE
AND WELL IN CRIME FICTION.
YOU HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO
WRITES THEM AS SETUPS FOR
NOVELS.
RENDELL DOESN'T DO THAT.
HER SHORT STORIES ARE ALWAYS
ORIGINALS.
SHE DOES EXACTLY WHAT A GOOD
SHORT STORY WRITER IS SUPPOSED
TO.
SHE TAKES US RIGHT INTO THE
CHARACTER, RIGHT INTO THE
ACTION, AND SHE MOVES THAT
STORY ALONG.
IT DOESN'T LAY AROUND AND
COLLECT DUST OR DOESN'T ALLOW
US TO GET TIRED.
I THINK SHORT STORIES AS
BONBONS I LOVE THEM.
I READ THEM ALL THE TIME.
THE THING I LIKE ABOUT THEM IS
THEY GO AWAY.

Tina says I KNOW YOU'RE A BIG
FAN OF SHORT STORIES AS AM I.
YOU REMEMBER WHEN ALICE MUNROE
SHE SAID IT'S THE VICTORY FOR
THE SHORTEST STORY, THE MUCH
MALIGNED SHORT STORY.
PEOPLE THINK THEY'RE EASY TO
KNOCK OFF.

Bronwyn says OR YOU DO
EARLY IN YOUR CAREER AND YOU
GRADUATE TO THE NOVEL.
I DON'T AGREE WITH THAT AT
ALL.
WE DON'T APPLY THE DOUBLE
STANDARD TO MUSIC.
WE DON'T THINK CHOPIN IS
LESSER THAN BRAM.
WHAT IS THIS NOTION WE HAVE
THAT SOMETHING IS VERY BIG
THAT MEANS IT'S BETTER.
THESE ARE SMALL JEWELS IN THE
HANDS AFTER GREAT WRITER LIKE
A CHECK COUGH OR A SOMERSET
MOM.

Tina says HARD TO DO, DON'T YOU
THINK?

Margaret says EXTREMELY
HARD.

Tina says THE CRAFT IS
EXTRAORDINARY.

Margaret says IF YOU
LOOK AT A SHORT STORY, A GOOD
ONE, YOU REALIZE OF 4500,
4,000 WORDS.
YOU HAVE TO DEVELOP A SETTING,
CHARACTER, AN ACTION.
SOMETHING HAS TO HAPPEN.
YOU HAVE TO DO ALL OF THIS
VERY FAST.
AND IN A VERY SHORT FORM.
BAD SHORT STORIES WANDER ALL
OVER THE PLACE.
A GOOD ONE REALLY DOES -- LIKE
THE WINK, MY LITTLE FAVOURITE
IN THIS PARTICULAR COLLECTION,
I MEAN SHE TAKES US RIGHT
THERE.
IT'S A LITTLE TINY THING.
I DON'T THINK IT'S MORE THAN
2500 WORDS LONG.

Tina says WE CAN GIVE THIS BOOK,
SAFE TO SAY, A RECOMMENDATION.
BRONWYN IF YOU RECOMMEND SHORT
STORIES FOR A PERSON TO READ,
WHO DO YOU SAY WE SHOULD GO TO?

Bronwyn says I COME
BACK TO ALICE MUNROE.
NOT ONLY IS SHE OURS AND
CANADIAN AND JUST DOWN THE
ROAD, BUT SHE'S DEMONSTRATED
SUCH FAITHFULNESS TO THE SHORT
STORY GENRE IN THE FACE OF ALL
PRESSURE FROM THE GENERAL
PUBLIC, HER PUBLISHERS,
EDITORS EVEN HER OWN AGENT.
WHEN WILL YOU GET TO A NOVEL.
SHE HAS SAID IN INTERVIEWS, I
HAVE TRIED TO SET OUT AND
WRITE A NOVEL.
THE NARRATIVE ART COMES BACK
AND COMPLETES ITSELF IN STORY
FORM.
I HAVE TO BE TRUE TO THAT.
AND I REALLY ADMIRE HER SENSE
OF TRUTH TO THAT MUSE.

Tina says WONDERFUL.

Margaret says MY QUICK
RECOMMENDATION IS TO GO TO THE
SOURCE POET.
ALONG WITH ALICE MUP ROW,
SCOTT FITZGERALD, A MASTER OF
THE SHORT STORY FORM WHO I
DON'T THINK HIS NOVELS WERE
EVER AS GOOD AS HIS SHORT
STORIES.
AND WINTER DREAMS, MY
FAVOURITE.

Tina says I THROW IN JOHN
CHEEVER TO WRAP IT ALL UP. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

A clip shows Tina taking a book from a bookshelf. An animated book on the shelf reads "Imprint. Coming up" The book opens up and shows Anita Desai reading a book and a picture of Erika de Vasconcelos’ book.

Tina says COMING UP, INDIAN
WRITER ANITA DESAI.
AND NEXT, SECOND NOVEL FROM
CANADA'S ERIKA de VASCONCELOS.
ERIKA de VASCONCELOS BURST ON
TO THE CANADIAN LITERARY SCENE
WITH THIS NOVEL "MY DARLING
DEAD ONES."
SHE RETURNS THIS SEASON WITH A
NEW BOOK "BETWEEN THE
STILLNESS AND THE GROVE" TAKES
US TO 1915 ARMENIA AND THE
GENOCIDE OF MORE THAN A
MILLION ARMENIANS AT THE HANDS
OF THE TURKS.
DZOVIG GROWS UP IN THE SHADOW
OF HER COUNTRY'S PAST AS SHE
LEAVES ARMENIA TO START A NEW
LIFE.
HERE'S ANTANAS SILEIKA IN
CONVERSATION WITH ERIKA
de VASCONCELOS.

A clip rolls. Antanas and Erika sit in bar.

Antanas is in his late forties, with short wavy gray hair and a beard. He wears glasses and a black turtleneck sweater.

Antanas says WELCOME TO "IMPRINT."

Erika says THANK YOU.

Antanas says YOU SAY NOBODY TALKS ABOUT
THE ANILEASE OF THE ARMENIANS
ANYMORE BUT YOU DO.
WHY?

Erika says IT'S A PART OF OUR HISTORY
THAT ISN'T VERY WELL-KNOWN.
AND IT NEEDS TO BE TALKED
ABOUT THE WAY ALL TRAGIC
EVENTS IN HISTORY NEED TO BE
TALKED ABOUT.

Antanas says WHY ISN'T IT WELL-KNOWN?
WHY AREN'T WE MORE AWARE OF
THIS THING?

Erika says I DON'T KNOW WHY.
I DON'T KNOW WHY THAT IS.
IT'S VERY, VERY STRANGE.
I THINK IT'S EXTRAORDINARY
THAT AN EVENT OF HISTORY OF
THAT MAGNITUDE IS STILL NOT
ACKNOWLEDGED.
AND I THINK THAT SILENCE IS
VERY DAMAGING.

Antanas says IN THIS NOVEL THERE'S A
DUALITY.
THERE'S A GREAT SADNESS BUT A
SENSE OF HOPE AS WELL.
YOU'RE RIGHT.
THIS IS A GREAT MIRACLE OF
DEATH THAT LIVING GOES ON.
I WONDER IF YOU COULD TALK
ABOUT THAT FOR A BIT.

The caption changes to "Erika de Vasconcelos. Between the Stillness and the Grove."

Erika says I THINK THAT'S THE MIRACLE
OF, YOU KNOW, OF HUMANITY THAT
DESPITE EVERYTHING THAT
HAPPENS THAT PEOPLE GO ON,
THAT YOU DO GO ON.
THAT DESPITE GENOCIDES,
SOCIETIES COME BACK AND
NATIONS RISE UP AGAIN, AND
THAT, YOU KNOW, DESPITE THE
LOSS OF A CHILD, A MOTHER CAN
CARRY ON.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, THAT IN THE
MIDST OF THE WORST HORROR AND
PAIN, YOU KNOW, BEAUTY CREEPS
IN, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR
NOT.
AND THAT'S SORT OF MIRACULOUS.
THAT'S SORT OF THE MIRACLE OF
HUMAN EXISTENCE, THAT WE CAN
REACH SUCH -- SUCH, YOU
KNOW -- SINK SO LOW AND YET
CONTINUE.

Antanas says NOW, WE SAW A LOT OF
LIBERATION EUPHORIA IN THE
LATE 1900s AND THE EARLY
1990s.
WE HAVE A SENSE OF ARMENIANS
RISING AGAIN.
HERE IT IS ABOUT 10, 12 YEARS
LATER AND IT SEEMS AS IF THERE
WAS WAR.
THERE WAS MASSIVE EMIGRATION.
THE LUCKY ONES ARE WORKING IN
PIZZA NOVA AND McDONALD'S.
ISN'T THERE AN IRONY OF PEOPLE
FREEING THEMSELVES ONLY FOR
THIS?

Erika says THAT'S ALWAYS THE WAY WHEN
YOU'RE STRUGGLING OUT OF A
VERY DIFFICULT PERIOD, IN THIS
CASE 70 YEARS OF COMMUNIST
RULE, YOU FIND THAT YOU CAN'T
JUST IN A COUPLE OF YEARS
SOLVE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS AND BE
A FREE NATION AND HAVE A GREAT
ECONOMY AND THE PROBLEMS ARE
SO ENGRAINED AND SO DIFFICULT
THAT IT TAKES DECADES I THINK.

Antanas says SO THEY HAVE TO WORK
THROUGH THIS PROBLEM?

Erika says YEAH, YEAH.
I THINK THE ARMENIANS I MET
WHILE I WAS THERE IN '97 HAD
THAT FEELING THAT THEY WOULD
TRIUMPH, THAT IN TEN YEARS'
TIME ARMENIA WOULD BE A GREAT
COUNTRY, THAT IT WOULD BE A
GREAT PLACE TO LIVE.

Antanas says I WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT
PORTUGAL WHERE YOUR MAIN
CHARACTER GOES.
FOR HER PORTUGAL, THE PEOPLE,
THE FOOD -- ESPECIALLY THE
LANDSCAPE ACTS AS A SALVATION
FOR HER.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THE
LANDSCAPE COULD BE A BOMB
THESE ONES CAN'T.

Erika says WELL, THE LANDSCAPE IN
ARMENIA IS VERY MOUNTAINOUS
AND VERY CLOSED IN FROM
DZOVIG'S PERSPECTIVE.
IT'S A VERY -- EVERYTHING THAT
SHE FEELS ABOUT ARMENIA HAS TO
DO WITH THIS FEELING OF BEING
A PRISONER, OF BEING HELPLESS.
AND WHEN SHE GOES TO
PORTUGAL -- WELL, ONE OF THE
MAIN THINGS THAT ATTRACTS HER
IS THE OCEAN, THE SEA.
AND THERE IS NO SEA IN
ARMENIA.
ARMENIA IS A LAND COUNTRY.
THAT VASTNESS THAT IS A
CONTRAST TO WHAT SHE FELT BACK
HOME.
THERE'S A SCENE BETWEEN DZOVIG
AND THE MAN SHE -- WHO BECOMES
HER LOVER IN PORTUGAL.
HE TELLS HER WE'RE HAPPY
BECAUSE WE LOOK AT THAT SEA
ALL OUR LIVES AND THE SEA JUST
LAUGHS AT US.
WE LAST LESS THAN A GRAIN OF
SAND.
IN THE FACE OF THAT WHAT CAN
YOU DO BUT DRINK GOOD WINE AND
BE HAPPY, WHICH I THINK IS A
VERY MEDITERRANEAN -- I MEAN,
AT THE BOTTOM IS A
MEDITERRANEAN TRUTH.
IN LANDSCAPES WHERE THERE IS
THE SEA, THE SUN, PEOPLE TEND
TO BE HAPPIER.

Antanas says YOU WRITE ABOUT PORTUGAL.
YOU WROTE ABOUT PORTUGAL IN
YOUR LAST NOVEL AS WELL.
YOU'RE DOING IT IN THIS ONE
BUT YOU WERE BORN IN CANADA.
WHAT ROLE DOES PORTUGAL PLAY
IN YOUR IMAGINATION?

Erika says PORTUGAL PLAYS A BIG ROLE
IN MY IMAGINATION.
BOTH OF MY PARENTS ARE
PORTUGUESE.
PORTUGAL IS THE PLACE I WENT
TO AS A CHILD EVERY SUMMER.
I WOULD SPEND A COUPLE OF
MONTHS THERE.
I HAVE GONE THERE -- I WOULD
SPEND A COUPLE OF MONTHS
THERE.
I HAVE GONE THERE ALL MY LIFE.
I SPEAK PORTUGUESE.
IT'S MY OTHER SELF.
IT'S A COUNTRY THAT CAPTIVATES
MY IMAGINATION, YOU KNOW,
PHYSICALLY IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL.
THE PORTUGUESE CHARACTER IS
AGAINST SO PARTICULAR AND SO
DISTINCT FOR ME THAT I LIKE TO
EXPLORE IT IN MY FICTION.

Antanas says NOW I'D LIKE TO TALK A
LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR WRITING
LIFE.
AND YOU'RE MARRIED TO A
PROMINENT CANADIAN WRITER.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO HAVE TWO
WRITERS IN THE HOUSE?

Erika says IT'S VERY QUIET.
IT'S GREAT.
IT'S -- IT'S LOVELY.
WE EACH WORK IN OUR OWN
SEPARATE SPACES.
AND WE MEET DOWNSTAIRS FOR
LUNCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
DAY.
AND CHAT AND INTERRUPT EACH
OTHER PRETTY REGULARLY.
AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S WONDERFUL.
WHEN THE KIDS COME HOME AT
3:30 BASICALLY THE WORK DAY IS
OVER.
THEN THE HOUSE IS FULL OF
NOISE AND ACTIVITY AND THE DOG
NEEDS WALKING AND, YOU KNOW.
WE LEAD A VERY CONVENTIONAL
LIFE IN THAT SENSE THAT
REVOLVES AROUND OUR CHILDREN.
WHEN THE KIDS ARE GONE, WE SIT
AT OUR DESKS AND WE WRITE.

Antanas says DO YOU READ EACH OTHERS'
MATERIAL?

Erika says WE DO USUALLY ONLY WHEN
IT'S FAIRLY FINISHED.
LIKE, YOU KNOW, IF HE'S
FINISHED A SECTION OF A NOVEL
HE'LL SHOW IT TO ME OR I WILL
GIVE HIM THE FIRST HALF OF MY
NOVEL.
WE DON'T DO A WEEKLY CROSS
CHECK.

Antanas says YOU DON'T DO THE EXCHANGE.

Erika says NO, NO.
AND WE DON'T GIVE EACH OTHER
EDITORIAL ADVICE.
WE SAY IT'S BEAUTIFUL, HONEY.
YOU'RE BRILLIANT.
I LOVE IT.

Antanas says YOU JUST SUPPORT EACH
OTHER.

Erika says YES, YEAH.

Antanas says WRITERS ARE STILL
INDEPENDENT CREATURES.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE TWO
WRITERS IN ONE HOUSE WITHOUT
SOME OF THIS COMPETITION
CREEPING IN?

Erika says NINO’S CAREER IS SO
MUCH FURTHER AHEAD THAN MINE
IN THE SENSE HE'S ALREADY
WRITTEN THREE BOOKS.
I STARTED THREE YEARS AGO --
OR FIVE YEARS AGO NOW.
I DON'T SEE MYSELF REALLY IN
THE SAME LEAGUE AS HE IS.
I STILL CONSIDER MYSELF A
NOVICE IN A CERTAIN SENSE.

Antanas says WITH YOUR SECOND BOOK
YOU'RE DOING PRETTY WELL.

Erika says WELL, THANK YOU.
I REALLY DON'T FEEL
COMPETITIVE TOWARDS HIM.
IT'S ALL A JOINT BANK ACCOUNT.
SO WHATEVER WE BRING HOME JUST
GOES INTO THE COMMON POOL.
YOU KNOW, HE SAYS IF I WIN THE
GILLER PRIZE, YOU KNOW, HE
WINS IT TOO.

Antanas says THERE YOU GO.
THEN YOU CAN PUT A NEW ROOF ON
THE HOUSE OR SOMETHING.

Erika says YEAH, THAT'S IT.

The clip of the interview ends.

Tina says "BETWEEN THE
STILLNESS AND THE GROVE" BY
ERIKA de VASCONCELOS IS
PUBLISHED BY KNOPF CANADA.
SHE KNEW SHE WOULD BE A WRITER
LONG BEFORE HER FIRST
SUCCESSFUL NOVEL.
"IMPRINT" ASKED WRITERS HOW
THEY CAME TO KNOW THAT WRITING
WAS THEIR TRUE CALLING.

A fast clip shows images of a typewriter.

Now on an animated slate, clips show different authors answering the question "When did you realize you were destined to be a writer?

Nancy Kilpatrick says I THINK I KNEW AS A KID
WHEN I WAS HAMMERING OUT
LITTLE STORIES ON A TYPEWRITER
MY GRANDFATHER GAVE ME.
I FELT I LIKED IT AND WANTED
TO DO IT.
I WENT THROUGH OTHER THINGS
TRYING TO DIRECT MYSELF INTO A
MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE WAY
OF BEING.
DIDN'T WORK.

Alan Twiggs says WHEN I REALIZED IF YOU WERE
A WRITER YOU COULD WORK
INDOORS AND DIDN'T HAVE TO
SHAVE.

Richard Scringer says I STILL DON'T KNOW I'M
DESTINED TO BE A WRITER.
I THINK DESTINY IS FOR A LOT
LATER IN LIFE THAN I AM.
I'M HOPING TO BE A WRITER,
STRIVING TO BE A WRITER.

Anita Desai says AS SOON AS I START TO READ
AND WRITE REALLY.
I KNEW THAT THIS WAS MY WORLD
AND THIS IS WHAT I WANTED TO
DO.

Val McDermid says AS SOON AS I REALIZED THAT
THE PEOPLE WHO WROTE THOSE
BOOKS IN THE LIBRARY DID IT AS
A LIVING THAT'S WHAT I WANTED
TO BE.
I ALWAYS TOLD MYSELF STORIES.
IT WAS THE DESTINY OF THE ONLY
CHILD.

Michele Roberts says AT THE AGE OF ABOUT FIVE I
THINK.
I FAN WRITING POEMS WHICH I
WROTE DOWN, SHOWED TO PEOPLE.
I ALSO WROTE NOVELS ON TINY
SCRAPS OF PAPER, SHORT NOVELS.

Armistead Maupin says I DIDN'T KNOW IT MEANT THAT
I SHOULD BE A WRITER BUT WHEN
I WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD I HAD A
GREAT DEAL OF FUN FORCING MY
FRIENDS SIT AND LISTEN TO ME
TELL GHOST STORIES AROUND THE
CAMPFIRE.
I HAD A BOOK CALLED "TARHEEL
GOSS" ABOUT GHOSTS FROM NORTH
CAROLINA.
I WOULD TELL THEM IN MY WORD.
IT WAS THE FIRST INKLING I HAD
THAT I WAS A STORYTELLER.
I LIKED THE SENSATION OF
HOLDING PEOPLE RAPPED.
IT GAVE ME POWER WHEN I WAS
LOUSY AT SPORTS.
I KNEW I COULD HOLD THEIR
ATTENTION BY TELLING A GOOD
STORY.

Lemony Snicket says GOSH, I DON'T KNOW.
I DON'T THINK PEOPLE ARE
DESTINED TO BE WRITERS.
I THINK IF THEY'RE LUCKY, THEY
GET TO BE.

Emma Donoghue says I GREW TOO TALL AND GAVE UP
BALLET CLASSES AND I NEEDED A
SUBSTITUTE ACTIVITY.

Tina says ANITA DESAI ALWAYS
KNEW SHE WANTED TO BE A
WRITER.
NOW THE THREE-TIME NOMINEE FOR
THE BOOKER PRIZE.
BORN IN DELHI OF A GERMAN
MOTHER AND INDIAN FATHER, SHE
LEFT INDIA TO PURSUE HER
STUDIES AND DIVIDES HER TIME
IN DELHI, ENGLAND AND BOSTON
WHERE SHE TEACHES.
A SHORT STORY COLLECTION
CALLED "DIAMOND DUST AND OTHER
STORIES."
THE BOOK TAKES US ALL OVER THE
WORLD.
LIKE THE WRITER, IT REMAINS
FIRMLY ROOTED IN INDIAN
LANDSCAPES.

A picture of Anita’s book pops up.

Fast clips show images of daily life in India.

Anita says ONE LIVES IN INDIA ONE HAS
TO BELONG TO INDIA.
SO ONE HAS TO FOLLOW ITS
RULES.
ONE BELONGS TO A CERTAIN
TRADITION.
I REALLY PUT INTO MY FICTION.

A picture of the book "Games at twilight" appears on screen.

The caption changes to "Francine Prose. Writer."

Francine is in her mid-forties, with shoulder length wavy brown hair. She wears a black turtleneck sweater and a black leather jacket.

She says SHE'S A WONDERFUL WRITER.
SHE WRITES BEAUTIFULLY,
SENTENCE BY SENTENCE, WORD BY
WORD.
FOR ANOTHER SHE WRITES WITH
THIS KIND OF QUIET,
UNDERSTATED AUTHORITY.
YOU'RE JUST CONVINCED --
YOU'RE CONVINCED BY EVERYTHING
SHE WRITES.
THERE'S NOTHING FLASHY ABOUT
IT.
THERE'S NOTHING SORT OF
TARGETED BY IT AND YOU'RE
DRAWN IN.

The caption changes to "Anita Desai. Diamond Dust."

Anita says MY FATHER WENT TO GERMANY
AS A STUDENT, MARRIED MY
MOTHER THERE.
BROUGHT HER BACK TO INDIA BUT
THEN QUICKLY REALIZED SHE
COULD NEVER FIT INTO THE
TRADITIONAL HOME TO WHICH HE
BELONGED IN BANGORE.
THEY MOVE TODD NORTH INDIA
WHICH WAS STRANGE TO BOTH OF
THEM.
NEITHER SPOKE THE LANGUAGE.
IT WAS EQUALLY FOREIGN TO THEM.
AND BROUGHT US UP OVER THERE
TO BELIEVE WE WERE INDIANS,
REALLY, NOT GERMANS OR
BENGALIES BUT INDIANS.
I WAS A SMALL CHILD DURING
WORLD WAR II, BUT THE FACT
THAT MY MOTHER WAS GERMAN
CERTAINLY MADE OUR HOUSEHOLD
PARTICULARLY TENSE AT THAT
TIME.
I ONLY LEARNED LATER HOW
DIFFICULT IT MUST HAVE BEEN
FOR HER TO BE GERMAN IN
BRITISH TERRITORY.
AND THAT WOULD EXPLAIN WHY MY
OLDER BROTHER AND SISTER WHO
UNDERSTOOD MORE CAUTIONED HER
NOT TO SPEAK GERMAN TO US IN
PUBLIC AND HOW TO DRESS.
OURS WAS A VERY BOOKISH HOME.
EACH OF US HAD OUR OWN
COLLECTION OF BOOKS.
WE WERE CONSTANTLY TRADING
BOOKS AND GOING TO THE LIBRARY FOR MORE.
I REMEMBER I WAS NINE YEARS
OLD AND I READ WUTHERING
HEIGHTS AND NOT REALLY
UNDERSTANDING.
IF WORDS HAVE THIS POWER, THEY
CAN DO THIS.
HOW MARVELLOUS.
HOW AMAZING TO DO THIS WITH
JUST PEN AND INK, WORDS.
MY WAY OF LIVING IN INDIA WAS
TO SIT BACK AND OBSERVE AND
WRITE BUT NOT REALLY TO SPEAK
OUT.
BUT WHEN I LIVED IN INDIA, IT
WAS DIFFERENT.
I COULD SPEAK FREELY.
I COULD VOICE MY OPINIONS.
I WAS EXPECTED TO VOICE MY
OPINIONS, WHICH SURPRISED ME
VERY MUCH.
IT TOOK SOME GETTING USED TO.
I WAS NEARLY 15 WHEN I HAD AN
INVITATION FROM THE UNIVERSITY
OF CAMBRIDGE TO SPEND A YEAR
THERE AS A VISITING FELLOW.
I WENT THERE THINKING IT WOULD
BE A YEAR.
IT WAS ONE STEP AFTER THE
OTHER AND I JUST GOT FURTHER
AND FURTHER AWAY.

Francine says SHE WRITES ABOUT A RANGE OF
SITUATIONS, CERTAINLY INDIAN
CULTURE.
INDIAN CULTURE -- FOR EXAMPLE
FASTING AND FEASTING.
INDIAN CULTURE BACK IN INDIA
AND HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.
BUT IT'S NEVER -- IT ALWAYS
GOES BEYOND THAT.
IT'S ABOUT HUMAN LIFE.
THE CHARACTERS ARE VERY
RECOGNIZABLE CHARACTERS AND
THE FAMILIES ARE -- YOU KNOW,
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FAMILY IS
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT
FASTING AND FEASTING.

Anita says I DIDN'T HAVE A GOAL WHEN I
WROTE "FASTING, FEASTING."
THOSE ARE THE FIRST THINGS I
WROTE WHEN I GOT TO THE UNITED
STATES.
THEY TOOK ME BY SURPRISE.
I TOLD MYSELF I WOULD NEVER BE
ABLE TO WRITE ABOUT INDIA
AGAIN.
I LOST THAT MATERIAL.
AND THEN I FOUND MYSELF
WRITING ABOUT INDIA, ABOUT IT
VERY INTIMATELY.
IT SEEMED MOST FAMILIAR TO ME.

Anita reads an excerpt of her book.

She says THE TWO HEADS LEANED
AGAINST EACH OTHER AS THEY
PEERED OUT SPEECHLESSLY.
THEY DID NOT HEAR HER.
THEY WERE SO ABSORBED IN THE
FALLING OF THE SNOW AND THE
WHITE CAME OFF THE DARK SCENE
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS
PANE.

A picture of the book appears.

Anita says I ALWAYS THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS
A NOVELIST.
I LOVED THE TIME AND THE SPACE
AND THE SCOPE OF IT.
I ENJOYED THE LEISURELY
UPFOLDING OF THE NOVEL.
WRITING A SHORT STORY IS MUCH
MORE CHALLENGING.
YOU GET A VERY SHORT SPACE, A
SHORT TIME IN WHICH TO DO WHAT
YOU'VE SET OUT TO DO.
AND IT EITHER COMES OFF OR IT
DOESN'T.
IT'S MUCH CLOSER TO WRITING A
POEM.
POETRY TO ME IS THE HIGHEST
FORM OF WRITING.
I WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN A
POET.
I READ POETRY BECAUSE IT'S --
THAT'S MY MODEL REALLY.
QUITE AN EXPERIENCE.
I HAVE TO SAY I DID IT BECAUSE
IT'S ABOUT FRIENDS OF MINE.
THEY OFTEN SUGGESTED I WRITE
THE SCREENPLAY FOR THEM.
I WASN'T INTERESTED.
HE HAD A GREAT PASSION FOR
THAT BOOK.
HE UNDERSTOOD THAT WHOLE
SCENE.
IT'S WHERE HE COMES FROM.
SO IT'S -- I THOUGHT HE WOULD
BE THE RIGHT PERSON TO MAKE
THAT FILM.
I MYSELF AM NOT MADE FOR
MAKING FILMS.
THE BIGGEST SHOCK FOR ME IS
THAT IT WAS IN TECHNICOLOUR.
I IMAGINED IT IN BLACK AND
WHITE.
I IMAGINED IT AS A GRAPEY,
GRITTY BLACK-AND-WHITE FILM.
TO SEE IT IN GORGEOUS
TECHNICOLOUR WAS A SHOCK I
NEVER GOT OVER.
MY DAUGHTER WROTE THIS
WONDERFUL BOOK. "HULLABALOO IN THE
GUAVA ORCHARD."
I WAS SO AFRAID IT WOULDN'T BE
GOOD -- I WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO
SHOW MY ENTHUSIASM.

Black and white pictures of Anita and her daughter appear on screen.

Anita says AND WE WENT AWAY TOGETHER TO
MARTHA'S VINEYARD FOR A
WEEKEND AND SHE GAVE ME THE
MANUSCRIPT TO READ.
I STARTED LAUGHING AND
LAUGHING AS SOON AS I STARTED
READING.
I THINK SHE WAS RELIEVED.
IT WAS JUST WONDERFUL.

Anita reads out loud. She says SHE SHUT THE DOOR SILENTLY,
SLIPPED INTO HER BEDROOM AND
FETCHED A CAMERA FROM WHERE IT
LAY ON THE CLOSET SHELF.
THEN SHE CAME OUT INTO THE
HALL AGAIN AND STANDING THERE
TOOK A PHOTOGRAPH.

Anita says I HAD TRAVELLED CON -- I
TRAVEL CONSTANTLY NOW AND MOVE
AROUND SO MUCH THAT I NO
LONGER HAVE A BASE ANYWHERE.
I THINK THE SHORT STORIES IN
THIS COLLECTION "DIAMOND DUST."
ARE REALLY TO TRY TO OCCUPY
THESE NEW TERRITORIES, TRY TO
LEARN THEM AND UNDERSTAND
THEM.

Tina says DIAMOND DUST AND
OTHER STORIES IS PUBLISHED BY
CHATTO AND WINDUS.
THAT'S IT FOR THIS EDITION OF
"IMPRINT."
CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE FOR
READING LISTS AND INFORMATION
ON UPCOMING SHOWS.
THE ADDRESS IS COMING RIGHT
UP.
GOOD NIGHT.

Theme music plays as the end credits roll.

Special thanks, International Festival of Authors. Sheer-E Punjab.

Imprint. C/O TVOntario. P.O. Box 200. Station Q, Toronto, Ontario. M4T 2T1.

Fax: 416-484-2780.

E-mail: imprint@tvo.org.

Website: www.tvo.org/imprint

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2001, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Imprint season 12 episode 19