Rewriting Sheila Heti’s ‘How Should a Person Be?’

This interview with Sheila Heti was the first we found of her new novel, How Should a Person Be? one of the most popular releases this summer. We were intrigued to discover that the book first came out in Canada in September 2011 (published by House of Anansi Press) and that for the republication in the US, Heti rewrote certain parts of the book. Unusual and risky indeed, Heti saw the new edition ‘as a chance to finish’ what she felt she hadn’t really achieved in the Canadian edition. Not only that, the book charts the rebirth and self-discovery of a recently divorced writer, called Sheila Heti (it’s inter-autobiographical). Here Claire Cameron describes it as ‘a book about finding a way to move forward again’, after personal catastrophe, and she asks the writer about the differences between both editions and the process of purging and rewriting. Though it has received some mixed reviews, the context around the publication of both editions themselves is enough to peek our interest in its theories and acts of recovery.