Introducing: Sara Tilley

Say hello to the authors of the 2015 Vancouver Writers Fest! Each week in August - October, we'll be introducing you to three of our Festival authors with a blog post filled with interesting facts about the author and their upcoming book. Read all about them, buy their book and then come see them at the Festival in the fall. Enjoy!

Sara Tilley
Newfoundland & Labrador, Events 59 "Frontier,"  64 "Inspired By: A Multimedia Performance" and 88 "The Raw Material"

Sara Tilley is a writer, theatre artist and clown in St. John’s. She is the founder of a feminist theatre company, She Said Yes!, and has written, co-written or co-created 11 plays, all of which have received professional production. Skin Room, her first novel, won both the Newfoundland and Labrador Percy Janes First Novel Award and the inaugural Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. She also won the Lawrence Jackson Writers’ Award from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. Her new novel is Duke.

On getting in to character: Tilley’s novel, Duke, draws from her great-grandfather’s letters and journals as he travelled north at the end of the Klondike gold rush. From there, to develop her great-grandfather’s voice, she used a technique called Pachinko Clown through Mask, which involved “wearing a papier-mâché mask of her great-grandfather and scribbling down what comes to her with markers on large swaths of paper on her office floor.” Read on.  See Tilley demonstrate the Pachinko Clown technique here

Waiting for the party to begin: When asked about her current state of mind in June (shortly after Duke was published), Tilley described it as, “like that of a small child sitting in a full-decorated living room with a pointy cardboard hat on, not allowed to touch anything yet, staring at the gloriously bright icing on the cake and waiting for the first of the guests to arrive.” What a great image! Read on.

Duke Discussed: In this episode from the podcast, Overcast, author Jamie Fitzpatrick reads and discusses a chapter from Duke.  As Jamie learns, the book is full of surprises. He says, “You do not know what might happen on the next page.” Read on.

Feminism and Theatre: Tilley is the Artistic Director of She Said Yes! Theatre, a feminist theatre company based in St. John’s. The company produces shows by women about women and also provides dramaturgical support for scripts in development. When asked about the intersection between feminism and theatre, Tilley said, “I think it’s because I am a feminist, therefore my work is feminist. I don’t deliberately set out, necessarily, to deliver political messages or anything. But I am really interested in the narrative of the female voice in this time and place, and certainly all of my work has to do with issues of gender identity and the sort of interplay between the sexes.” Read on.

Skin Room: Author Michael Crummey described Tilley’s first novel, Skin Room, as “an unflinching love letter to heartache, the far north, late nights in downtown St. John’s, family dysfunction and the slim possibility of redemption. Sara Tilley manages despair, slapstick and all registers in between with equal skill and grace. A completely convincing voice and a terrific book.” Hear Tilley read from the book during the 2013 WordFest in Calgary here