Michelle Butler Hallett was born in St. John's, NL, in 1971, and grew up in St. John's, Pasadena, Paradise and Conception Bay South. She studied English at Carleton University in Ottawa, returning to St. John's with her husband in 1999 to raise a family. Butler Hallett is working on a screenplay adaptation of some of her short stories, a stage play, and her next novel.
Photo by David Hallett
One or two things about Michelle
Eyes: Green edged with grey.
Tattoos: One with each book contract.
Bad habits: Nail-biting, profanity, geeking out with sci-fi movies while ironing clothes .
Five works that made me forget everything I supposedly knew about writing and start over: Beowulf (translated by Seamus Heaney), Edward II by Christopher Marlowe, "Late Encounter with the Enemy" by Flannery O'Connor, Metamorphoses byOvid (translated by Mary M. Innes), Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord by Louis de Bernieres
Music that feeds my head: J.S. Bach, Kate Bush, John Coltrane, Chris Cornell, Amelia Curran, Ani diFranco, Steve Earle, Peter Gabriel, Blair Harvey, Kronos Quartet, Dmitri Shostakovich
Three favourite books growing up: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Five vexing novels I admire: The Castle by Franz Kafka (translated by Willa and Edwin Muir), JR by William Gaddis, Lives of Short Duration by David Adams Richards, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, W uthering Heightsby Emily Bronte
Three stories that scare the hell out of me: "A Country Doctor" by Franz Kafka (translated by Willa and Edwin Muir), "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor, "Croatoan" by Harlan Ellison
Nine poems that make my heart beat faster: "Ariel" by Sylvia Plath , "The Beautiful" by Michael Crummey, "Dark Night of the Soul" by San Juan de la Cruz as arranged by Loreena McKennitt (no translator credit), "Demons" by Pat Lowther, "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Musee des Beaux Arts" by W.H. Auden, "My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning, Untitled ("And in books, I always liked") by Anna Akhmatova (translated by Lyn Coffin), "Words in the Mourning Time" by Robert Hayden
What I want to do with my fiction: try to show what it means to be alive.