By 2002 Man Booker Prize winner YANN MARTEL.
Question: How would you encourage boys and young men to read?
Yann Martel: I think it’s a great idea, I have no fear of it, I think it’ll save some trees and there’s infinite, it has infinite possibilities. So to have an electronic book where, if you don’t know a word, you tap on it and it’s defined for you, to have a device where, you know, you can append an encyclopedia so if you’re reading a novel set in Paraguay and you’re curious about Paraguay, you can tap and get a map of Paraguay. And to have a book that perhaps at one point, you know, you’re reading an Indian novel, why not have Indian music in the background, to have a book that can then start reading to you, you know? It’s a great idea. It’s particularly suited for stuff that’s ephemeral, newspapers, ephemeral fiction. And if you really like a work, if you’re reading great poetry, then you have it on your Kindle, but also you get it as a book. So I think they can be complimentary.
You know, every new technology has its limitations, has its dangers. The danger of the e-book of course is that it’ll be kidnapped by corporations, whether it’s Apple or Sony or whatever, you know… because it is a proprietary, e-books right now are proprietary technology, whereas books, books aren’t, paper books are not, anyone can make a book. So, hopefully at one point it will be a generic product, like the phone is, like an actual physical phone is. Anyone can make a phone now, any number of companies.
But as an idea, I think it’s wonderful. It still needs work, but I have no, I have no fear of them. I don’t have one myself, but I have no problems with them.
Yann Martel was born in Spain. He received a degree in philosophy from Trent University in Ontario in 1981. After university Martel worked in a variety of fields and traveled widely through India, Iran, and Turkey. The publication of “Self,” Martel’s first novel in 1996, led to him being shortlisted for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Living in India inspired the book “Life of Pi,” which was published in 2001 and went on to receive numerous awards, including Canada’s Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction in 2001 and the 2002 Man Booker Prize. His most recent book “Beatrice and Virgil” was released in April 2010.