For Openers: Conversations with 24 Canadian Writers (Harbour Publishing 1981)
Alan Twigg’s first book arose unbidden after he commenced interviewing authors for the Georgia Straight newspaper in the Seventies, leading to freelance writing as a West Coast stringer for Quill & Quire. Interviewing major Canadian authors served as a self-education process.
He had not presumed to produce a book until Talonbooks publisher David Robinson—who had arranged for him to conduct one of his first, in-depth interviews with Jane Rule on Galiano Island—suggested he should make a compilation.
The resulting collection of interviews with 24 Canadian novelists, dramatists and poets includes brief introductions for each author, followed by the traditional question-and-answer format. He usually spent about two hours with each of his subjects. Some authors, such as Hugh MacLennan and Margaret Laurence, were interviewed in their homes.
Other leading authors from outside of British Columbia included Alice Munro, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Marian Engel,
Rudy Wiebe, Michel Tremblay and Al Purdy. British Columbians included bill bissett, Peter Trower, Dorothy Livesay, Susan Musgrave and Hubert Evans. The book was well-received across Canada at a time when Canadian Literature was rising in prominence.
“For Openers is much the best thing of its kind I’ve ever read, and much more difficult to achieve than the casual reader would guess.”—Hugh MacLennan
“One can appreciate the zest, the engaging lack of stuffiness, with which Twigg confronts his authors.”—Ken Adachi, Toronto Star