10 things I learned about Lionel Shriver

By Wednesday, April 11, 2012 2 , , Permalink 0

Last week I went to see Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World, at the Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon. Aside from walking away an even bigger fan than I was before and wanting to pick up her newest book The New Republic, here are 10 things I learned about Lionel Shriver that night:

  • She wasn’t born with the name Lionel. Her real name is Margaret Ann. And when asked why she changed it she replied, “Do I look like a Margaret Ann to you?” Enough said.
  • She loves naming characters and does it even before she starts writing the book.
  • She doesn’t think the novel is dead, but even if it was she’d keep writing anyway.
  • Before the success of We Need to Talk About Kevin, her books were largely ignored.
  • She loves her book Game Control and moved to Nairobi to research and write it.
  • She was happy to win the Orange Prize (prestigious literary prize for women writers) even though she would have “far preferred to win a prize that was for both men and women, but at that point I would take what I could get.”
  • She lived in Belfast from 1987-1999 and the terrorism she saw there inspired her to write The New Republic.
  • She was not involved in the movie adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin but she thought it was a “damn good film”.
  • She’s a huge Edith Wharton fan, which reminds me that I still need to read The House of Mirth
  • Her advice to aspiring writers? Don’t take any advice.
Lionel Shriver was provocative and engaging, much like her books are. You can see for yourself by watching the entire Appel Salon interview here.
2 Comments
  • Maggie
    April 11, 2012

    That’s crazy – my name is Margaret Ann, too. 🙂

  • florence
    April 11, 2012

    I think it’s interesting that she just decided the name didn’t suit her and changed it. I don’t know what she has against Margaret Ann!

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