Katherine Govier biography

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Katherine Govier
Photo: Michael Mahovolich

Katherine Govier

How to pronounce Katherine Govier: GOH-vee-ay

Katherine Govier Biography

Katherine Govier is the author of nine novels and three short story collections. Her most recent novel The Printmaker's Daughter (originally published as The Ghost Brush in Canada) is about the daughter of the famous Japanese printmaker, Hokusai, creator of The Great Wave. Her novel Creation, about John James Audubon in Labrador, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2003.

Katherine's fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the United Kingdom, the United States, and throughout the Commonwealth, and in translation in Holland, Italy, Turkey, and Slovenia. She is the winner of Canada's Marian Engel Award for a woman writer (1997) and the Toronto Book Award (1992).

Katherine has been a visiting lecturer in both creative writing and magazine journalism at York University, Ryerson Polytechnic University and the University of Leeds (England). In addition, Katherine has been instrumental in establishing two innovative writing programs. In 1989, with teacher Trevor Owen, she helped found Writers in Electronic Residence. She also helped design, and taught in a program at Sheridan College for immigrant and refugee writers.

She is also the editor of two collections of travel essays.

About This Biography
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Interview

Katherine Govier answers "10 Questions" about The Printmaker's Daughter

What was your starting point for the novel?
It began when I read that Hokusai had a daughter who helped him in his studio, who was a fine artist "in her own right" and who disappeared after his death.

How long did it take you to write it?
Nearly five years. I had to really work to familiarize myself with the world of Edo. And I traveled a lot to meet experts and to find the bits and pieces of Oei's art that remain.

Is Rebecca really you, the author?
She is and she isn't. Obviously I went through a lot of what she went through. But when enfolded in a fiction everything takes on a life of its own, including the author. It's Oei's story and it is her idea of "Rebecca" that we get.

What was it like working with a ghost as a narrator?
It was great fun. She can float up to the ceiling; she can eat people's French fries. I had some decisions to make about how startled she was going to be by contemporary technology, for instance - Google really astonished her. But she couldn't go around in a constant state of shock. For the most part she took things like airplanes and escalators in stride. Pun intended.

Can you tell us about that research? How ...

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Books by this Author

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The Printmaker's Daughter jacket
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