Hemingway, Joyce or Woolf?

Ahead of this year’s Vancouver International Writers Festival, I asked a series of writers a series of questions on behalf of the Post. One of the the questions was “Who would you rather spend an afternoon with: Ernest Hemingway, James or Virginia Woolf?”

For me, it would be Hemingway, and I’d probably take him on some thrill-seeking event that didn’t exist in his day.  Big sea kayak fishing, maybe. Or kite surfing.

Eleanor Catton Virginia Woolf. I would be curious to know how she speaks, how she moves from thought to thought, how much of her is visible and what parts of her she hides away. I imagine it would be fun to take tea, and go for a stroll somewhere, or ride the omnibus through London and watch people through the glass. I wouldn’t want to talk about writing–I’d want to talk about our families, and how we perceive each other’s gestures, and our memories, and the things that we believe.

Yann Martel Hemingway. His lean, less-is-more style suits me more and his personality intrigues me. I’d go for a long hike with him and hope to meet the shy artist beyond the bluster.

Ivan E. Coyote Virginia Woolf, because I would probably like her the best. I would do anything but talk about books. She would probably appreciate the change of subject. Maybe we could go fishing or something.

Adam Lewis Schroeder Joyce, because I worshipped Dubliners as a kid, and my perception is that of the three he’d be the least gloomy and/or preachy, and though he might drink just as much as Hemingway, he’d be easier to prop up afterward. I’d just like to wander around Vancouver with him and see what caught his (singular) eye — would he dive into the stacks of gilt-edged old books at McLeod’s, for instance, or would his umbrella chase the geese around Lost Lagoon?

Marc Levy An afternoon with Hemingway would be really tempting, but a morning with him would be safer.

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