The book that changed your life: Alix Hawley

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      The Word Vancouver festival is set for its 2015 edition with a huge, genre-spanning program of authors, appearing at venues around town from September 23 to 27.

      The Straight asked a group of these writers to tell us about their most meaningful reading experiences. Which books shaped their imaginations early on? Which ones expanded their ideas of what the written word can do?

      Here’s what Kelowna’s Alix Hawley told us. She’s the author of All True Not a Lie in It, winner of this year’s First Novel Award. She’ll read from her work at 4:20 p.m. on September 27, on the Authors’ Words stage outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

      My parents had hundreds of books and let me read anything. My mum gave me The Thorn Birds when I was about eight. I started to love fat novels.

      But I'd never read anything like Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. When I picked it up at 18, it shook me. It was slender, with a hole in the middle into which the major character disappeared. And it carried on. I wanted to be able to pull off Olympic-level literary acrobatics like that.