Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"I Was Happiest in University, Living Alone with No Friends": Sheila Heti, Novelist

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"I Was Happiest in University, Living Alone with No Friends": Sheila Heti, Novelist

Article excerpt

Sheila Heti was born on Christmas Day 1976 in "an upper-middle-class Jewish neighbourhood in Toronto". She is the author of eight books, including the novels "How Should a Person Be?", "Ticknor" and "Motherhood".

What's your earliest memory?

Smoking in junior high school.

Who are your heroes?

When I was a child it was Annie, the orphan from the movie. I loved the way she was in the world: tough and optimistic but not a fool, independent but she also cared about the other orphans. I'm not sure I have a hero still. I'm too envious to have heroes.

What was the last book that changed your thinking?

I am listening to Barbara Ehrenreich's new book, Natural Causes, which is changing the way I think about medicine, the health care system, meditation, so much. I would recommend it to anybody. She is a completely independent thinker and her writing is like water.

Which political figure, past or present, do you look up to?

Does Simone Weil count?

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live?

A friend told me that someone who claimed to be from 6,000 AD has come to visit us and is in the newspapers saying that his time machine broke down. I would be curious to see what it's like on Earth in 4,000 years, though from this anecdote it sounds much the same.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

The first names of my immediate family.

What TV show could you not live without?

I could live without any TV show, no problem. …

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