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Thursday, September 15, 2011
92Y Culture Klatsch Q&A With Michael Crummey

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Canadian Michael Crummey’s newest novel, Galore, returns readers to the place of his birth – Newfoundland and Labrador and spans a century in the folkloric life of a hardscrabble fishing community. Read a review at The Washington Post.

His previous book, River Thieves, became a Canadian bestseller and also garnered numerous awards and short-list honors for Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize. On September 19 at 92YTribeca, Crummey will help us celebrate the Upper North Side, a “Little Canada” of sorts that highlights the artistic innovation of our neighbors to the north.

Today, we learn about Crummey’s media and culture diet by way of the 92Y Culture Klastch Q&A. His favorite piece of art in his home? “A portrait of my wife at the age of eighteen, face and eyes into a chunk of watermelon...”

Where do you go for news when you start your day?
I usually start my day with an hour or so of Sports Centre on TSN (the Canadian equivalent of ESPN). That’s as much “news” as I can handle first thing in the morning.

What are your favorite websites?
Big fan of Bookninja.com although it’s on hiatus at the moment. And spend an inordinate amount of time listening to new music on cbcradio3.ca.

How much do you use Twitter and Facebook (or other social networking services)?
I creep on my wife’s Facebook account occasionally. But so far have kept my hands clean of both.

What book are you currently reading (or the last one you read)? Print or digital?
I’ve been reading Elizabeth Bishop’s Collected Poems for the first time. Only knew her work through a handful of anthology pieces before now. One of the best poets of the last century.

What magazines do you subscribe to?
No subscriptions. In waiting rooms I tend to lean toward Sports Illustrated or (if I can find one) to Harpers.

What are your current (or all time) favorite television shows?
I remember loving “The Englebert Humperdink Show” as a kid. “Get Smart.” “Hockey Night in Canada.” And a great Canadian show called “Da Vinci’s Inquest” (which I think is on in syndication half the world over).

What’s the last movie you saw?
Watched The Secret in their Eyes last night, an Argentinian film that won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2009. 

What’s the last performance (dance/opera/theater) you attended?
Oil & Water, an original play by Newfoundland theatre company, Artistic Fraud. It’s the story of the only black survivor of a U.S. Navy ship that wrecked on the Newfoundland coast during WWII. On it’s way to a run in Toronto. NY could be next, if you ask nicely....

What’s the last music purchase you made?
People buy music these days? I did download Seeds by Hey Rosetta a while back. Terrific band, great album.

What’s your favorite piece of art on display in your home?
A portrait of my wife at the age of eighteen, face and eyes into a chunk of watermelon. It’s by one of Canada’s best known artists, Mary Pratt, who had done a version of the piece about twenty-five years ago. The original is in some university collection, but she re-painted it for us as a wedding present.

Where do you go / what do you do to “disconnect”?
My wife and I have a house in Western Bay, a tiny outport about an hour and a half outside St. John’s. No phone, no cell coverage, no television. Backing on a community pasture where local farmers keep their sheep over the summer. The lighthouse just a fifteen minute walk up the shore. The only place in the world I manage to sleep in.

Michael Crummey reads from his newest novel, Galore, a novel covering a century in the folkloric life of a hardscrabble fishing community on September 19 at 92YTribeca.

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