Sunday, June 05, 2011

Out-of-Town-Authors: Peter Robinson

TAKE IT to the Banks
Popular British detective back in Bad Boy

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
by: Ariel Gordon

British-born but Toronto-based mystery writer Peter Robinson has written 24 books, 19 of which that revolve around Insp. Alan Banks.

The latest Banks book, Bad Boy, takes its title from The Beatles song of the same name.

Peter Robinson will be reading Saturday, June 11, at the Canwest Global Performing Arts Centre at The Forks as a fundraiser for THIN AIR: Winnipeg International Writers Festival.

* * *

1) As a writer (i.e. someone whose artistic practice is predicated on time spent alone) how do you approach performance? What do you get out of it?

Tours and performances help to create a little variety in life. It can be quite lonely and isolating just sitting making things up day in, day out, and one definitely feels the need to get out more and meet one's audience. Events don't always come at the most opportune moments, but you learn to work around them.

Actually, I think it's basically most unreasonable to expect writers -- who often do what they do because they are shy, solitary people -- to entertain audiences as if they were performers. If they wanted to do that, they'd be actors or rock stars. That said, it doesn't bother me very much. I have taught for many years, and if I can keep a class of 30 or so 16-year-olds who'd rather be anywhere else under control, I can certainly enjoy myself with a room full of people who actually want to be there.

2) What do you want people to know about Bad Boy?

That it's a thrilling, exciting read and hard to put down. It's far more of a thriller than a detective novel. You know, a whodunit. It's just a matter of how far he will go. And, of course, there is the relationship between Banks and his daughter to engage the readers' emotions.

3) Will this be your first time in Winnipeg? What have you heard?

I've been to Winnipeg many times and have been careful not to listen to any rumours.

4) What are you reading right now? What are you writing right now?

I'm reading a novel called Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton and a new history of Russia by Martin Sixsmith. I also have a couple of recent books on Bob Dylan on the go.

5) After 19 books, is there anything about Insp. Alan Banks you don't know? Does he still surprise you?

There's still plenty I don't know about Banks, and when I find it all out there'll be nothing left to write. As long as he is still capable of surprising me, then I know I will be able to keep on writing about him.

Ariel Gordon is a Winnipeg writer.

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