Five Questions with Sheila Heti


Sheila Heti is the author of seven books, including the critically acclaimed How Should a Person Be? and the New York Times bestseller Women in Clothes. She writes regularly for the London Review of Books and is a contributing editor at The Believer magazine. She lives in Toronto. 

I first encountered Heti at Trampoline Hall, a popular monthly lecture series she created in which people speak on subjects outside their areas of expertise. Years later, I devoured How Should a Person Be?, a book that is thoroughly unique and explores what I think should be the most important question for any artist. (I recommend the original Canadian edition because it's more raw than the American. Full disclosure: I'm a native Torontonian.) 

She talks about "Should I Go to Grad School" here. Read a few pages of her children's book, We Need a Horse, here. And here is a photo of Heti with her bunny rabbit. 

 — Alisha Kaplan

1. Who are some of your favorite female geniuses?

Jane Bowles, Simone Weil, Martha Graham.

2. Would you describe your favorite place to write? 

Just whatever apartment I am living in. I once rented a studio but it didn't work. I need to write close to where I sleep and dream and cry and fight.

3. What do you love about Toronto? 

That it's my home.

4. Tell us about your rabbit.

Right now she is living in a hutch in the garden, which I feel very guilty about.

5. Do you remember your dreams? Would you share one with us?

Last night I dreamed that I met this man, sort of a nerdy tech engineer guy, who had given up his "email address." I thought I wanted to do this, too. Then I realised it would only mean having to talk on the phone more. I guess the dream meant I shouldn't spend so much time on email. 

Washington Square