Kathleen Winter's first collection of short stories, boYs, was the winner of both the Winterset Award and the Metcalf-Rooke Award. Published in Canada in 2010, Annabel (her first novel), was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the 2010 Governor General's Awards.
Winter was born in the industrial northeast of England. She began her career as a script writer for Sesame Street before becoming a columnist for The Telegram in St. John's. A long-time resident of St. John's, Newfoundland, she now lives in Montreal with her husband and daughters.
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Kathleen Winter discusses her first novel, Annabel
Can you talk about the origins of the novel and, specifically, how you came to write about an intersex child?
I listen to my postmistress, my friends, people I meet on the subway. People like to confide in a person who is genuinely listening. The first time I heard of an intersex child, I realized I knew nothing about intersex children and I resolved to find out more. What I learned haunted me until I began the novel.
Did you do any research or talk to any intersex people before or during the time you wrote Annabel? Did you feel any pressure to represent the life of people who are intersex accurately, or did you just focus on Wayne as an individual?
I did research. I read academic papers and medical essays, and I read accounts intersex people had written about their lives. But I soon realized these did not give me the key to the world I was looking for, because these journalistic research methods were unveiling bare facts on one hand, and extremely painful scenes on the other. So I relied, once I had read these accounts, on the artist's imagination. I relied on my human ability to see into profound questions. You can see this in the internalized nature of ...
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