The Proust Questionnaire, popularized by the French essayist and novelist Marcel Proust, is said to reveal a person’s true nature through a series of probing, soul-searching questions. In the hot seat today: Rita Williams-Garcia, acclaimed, award-winning author of CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND; GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA; P.S. BE ELEVEN; ONE CRAZY SUMMER, and many, many more.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Excellent health, safe shelter, food, and love in my heart.
What is your greatest fear? Homelessness and poor health.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Not always able to forgive myself.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Being mean-spirited.
Which living person do you most admire? Angela Y. Davis.
What is your greatest extravagance? Organic foods at the grocery store.
What is your current state of mind? Anxious with a few dashes of hope.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Purity.
On what occasion do you lie? When asked how do I feel.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “So” and “You know.”
Besides writing, which talent would you most like to have? Boxing.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Introducing the Black Panthers to young readers.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Leafy green tree for sure!
What is your most treasured possession? Worn down gold boxing gloves.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Abject hopelessness.
What do you most value in your friends? They give me space.
Who are your favorite writers? Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Jesmyn Ward, Jacqueline Woodson.
Who is your hero of fiction? Lady in Brown from “Toussaint” in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Zora Neale Hurston
What is your motto? “Live, love, laugh.”
RITA WILLIAMS-GARCIA is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels for young adults and middle-grade readers. Her novels have been recipients of numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award, National Book Award Finalists, Newbery Honor Book, Junior Library Guild, and the Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction. She served on faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children MFA Program and she resides in Queens, New York. Learn more about Rita Williams-Garcia on her website and follow her on Twitter.