Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Start Profile of Terry Griggs

There is a new profile of Terry Griggs up at the Start Stratford website, with some great photographs of Terry at home in Stratford. Here's how it starts:

Terry Griggs isn’t shy about her love affair with language.

“I read the dictionary for pleasure,” she said. “You can pull a whole story out of a word.”

Speaking with to two 13-year-old interviewers (and fans) about her most recent effort, a young adult novel called Nieve, she revealed that the main character’s name was found in a dictionary.

“It’s a Scots’ word meaning ‘fist’,” said Griggs from her Stratford home, “which makes it an appropriate name for a character who must deal with all the menace invading her world.”

Nieve, short-listed for the 2011 Red Maple Award, is about an observant girl who notices small faces of evil creeping into her small town. The changes she notices – spiders on her toothbrush; weeds with minds of their own; a supply teacher that seems too good (or bad) to be true – start slowly but pick up to a fever pitch until it almost encompasses her community.

Though Nieve has been well-received and her Cat’s Eye Corner trilogy written for younger children were best-sellers, Griggs is possibly best known for her adult work. Her collection of short stories, Quickening, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Rogues’ Wedding was a nominee for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She won the Marian Engel Award in 2002 and her books The Lusty Man and Thought You Were Dead are widely praised, with the latter on the Globe and Mail’s Best of the Year selection list.

In creating stories for different ages, Griggs doesn’t see a big distinction between the two.

“I tend to just write for anyone who might want to read the book,” Griggs said. “I sink into the world I’m creating. I get into that state of mind where the unconscious is more accessible . . . and things start to come up from the basement.”

She certainly doesn’t “dumb it down” when it comes to writing for younger audiences.

“I respect children’s intelligence too much!” she said. “One of the things that crops up in both my books for adults and for children is a respect for intelligence. Maybe I’m pushing the boundaries a bit by keeping the language rich, but kids I meet have said they’ve never read a book like it before.”

for the full profile, please go here.

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