Skip to Main Content
Header image

Sheila Heti on getting reacquainted with her imagination

By Kobo • June 10, 2022Kobo in Conversation Podcast

"I've come to value the imagination much more. I think I didn't have access to my own imagination in my late 20s and through most of my 30s, and now I do again.

It's really just a matter of what tools are available to you, and your own self makes certain tools available to you at certain points in your life—and withdraws them at others."

Sheila Heti is a novelist, playwright, and former interviews editor for the literary magazine The Believer. We spoke with her (and her dog Feldman) about her new novel Pure Colour and how her novels come into being.

Pure Colour by Sheila Heti

Pure Colour tells the story of a life, from beginning to end. It is a galaxy of a novel: explosive, celestially bright, huge, and streaked with beauty. It is a contemporary bible, an atlas of feeling, and a shape-shifting epic. Sheila Heti is a philosopher of modern experience, and she has reimagined what a book can hold.

View eBook    View Audiobook

As a girl, Sheila Heti saw herself in a favourite book series by Bernice Thurman Hunter, the first of which was That Scatterbrain Booky: "Those books were so important to me. That character I felt like she was me. She wanted to be a writer, she was sort of mischievous. Even how the books described her body, small and skinny with blonde hair—she was me. Lived in Toronto, even. [...] I still give it to children."

While working on her first book, the short story collection called The Middle Stories, she was inspired by Jane Bowles' novel Two Serious Ladies: "Her language was just so captivating to me." Also she says of that time, "I was reading a lot of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm, and a lot of fables. Aesop, things like that. A kind of self-conscious storytelling."

Subscribe to Kobo in Conversation wherever you listen.

Follow us at @kobobooks on Instagram

If you would like to be the first to know about bookish blogs, please subscribe. We promise to provided only relevant articles.