Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Proulx: "Brokeback Mountain coalesced thoughts and feelings that many people secretly held."
At the start of her career, American journalist and author E. Annie Proulx submitted stories to publishers using the name EA Proulx because, she says, it was easier to get published if editors thought she was a man. 

Those days are long gone.
Annie Proulx (Photo by Gus Powell)

I recently interviewed Proulx, the literary titan whose novels include The Shipping News (1993), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction. But she may be best known for her short story “Brokeback Mountain,” which was originally published in The New Yorker in 1997 and begat an Oscar-winning film as well as an opera for which Proulx wrote the libretto. 

In a wide-ranging interview, Proulx and I discussed her love for Canada, her new novel Barkskins which explores her deep concern for the future of our planet; how she comes up with her characters’ names, such as Ennis del Mar, Jack Twist, Ribeye Cluke and Beaufield Nutbeem; and, of course, the “Brokeback Mountain” phenomenon.

When I asked why she thinks her story “Brokeback Mountain” resonates with audiences as deeply as it does, Proulx replied, “‘Brokeback Mountain’ coalesced thoughts and feelings that many people secretly held. The story and the film helped show the injustice of ostracism to a general public. The time was right for change and the story seeped into the culture. By making the protagonists individualistic, hard-working tough cowboys, the most masculine American identity, the story packed a stronger punch than if the characters had been any other profession.”

Read my full interview with Proulx by clicking here.

Read my column about how Hollywood homophobia killed Brokeback Mountain's chances for winning the 2006 Oscar for Best Filmdespite my blurb the film studio used in its Oscar-race campaignby clicking here.

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