IFOA: If you could meet any writer, living or dead, who would it be?
O’Connell: It’s tempting to say Fitzgerald or Hemingway, just because you know you’d have a night to remember, but I think I’d rather skip the hangover and pick the amazing Alice Munro. I’d ask her to teach me how to bake bread and write perfect stories.
IFOA: What do you and your Magnified World protagonist Maggie have in common? In what ways are you different?
O’Connell: Maggie is more selfless than I am and more patient, but she’s also more impulsive. We both live in our own heads too much. We’re both sneaky. We both like to wander the streets of Toronto on warm nights.
IFOA: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
O’Connell: Probably working in a library, daydreaming too much. I’d like to see kids discovering books they love for the first time. And I’d like being there when the library was closed and empty and quiet.
IFOA: Describe Toronto’s literary scene in three words.
O’Connell: Bright. Brilliant. Boozy.
IFOA: Finish this sentence: I wish I could…
O’Connell: Make someone laugh and cry on the same page. And fly. And cut my own hair.
IFOA: Bonus question: This year’s International Festival of Authors in one word…
O’Connell: Ferocious (it’s my favourite word, and I think it applies).
For more about O’Connell and her appearance at IFOA, click here.