Arab Times

Shonda Rhimes breaks out of her shell

Andre Alexis wins Canada’s prestigiou­s Giller Prize


NEW YORK, Nov 11, (AP): Shonda Rhimes, who owns ABC’s Thursday night (with hit dramas “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder”), had found comfort and refuge in ShondaLand, the dream factory she rules as a mega-producer and writer.

But otherwise she was a chronic naysayer, which spurred her sister to mutter as they cooked Thanksgivi­ng dinner in 2013, “You never say yes to anything.”

This stinging rebuke led Rhimes to commit herself to a year of saying “yes” to whatever came her way.

For Rhimes, who describes herself back then as an introvert “to the bone,” this meant saying yes to speaking engagement­s and social invitation­s she would have turned down before. But that was just the start. “I feel like a different person,” Rhimes, 45, declared over tea Monday morning at a New York hotel. A television titan who not long ago was legendary for shunning interviews and the media spotlight, she was relaxed and reflective as she shared with a reporter how “everybody asks: ‘What happened to you?’ I don’t know what to say, except that I had this weird, transfor- mative experience and I feel like I’ve completely changed my life from top to bottom.”

Rhimes has chronicled this grand transforma­tion — and helped explain it to herself — in her candid new memoir, “Year of Yes”

For Rhimes, saying yes didn’t just mean saying yes to Jimmy Kimmel when asked to be on his show (which terrified her, though it turned out fine) or making time, no matter how busy she was, for her three daughters when they asked, “Wanna play?”

More than all that, “yes” meant breaking her lifelong habit of avoiding new possibilit­ies and opportunit­ies.

Writing “Year of Yes” itself became a part of the transforma­tion process, which delivered her from being a remarkably successful woman who was, nonetheles­s, miserable, to newfound standing as “a better mother, a better friend, a happier boss, a stronger leader, a more creative writer,” and someone who is kind, no longer cruel, to herself.

“The more I wrote about what I was doing, the more I got out of it, and I ended up writing the book just for me, which I think was a good thing. If I had been thinking that anybody else was going to read it, I probably would have censored myself so that what came out was sanitized,” she laughed, “for my protection.”

Also: TORONTO: Andre Alexis has won one of Canada’s most prestigiou­s literary awards for his novel “Fifteen Dogs.”

Alexis won the Scotiabank Giller Prize Tuesday for his book about 15 dogs gifted by gods with human traits.

The C$100,000 (US$75,000) Giller Prize honors the best in Canadian fiction and is the richest prize for fiction in North America.

Alexis joked the money will simply get him out of debt as a writer.

Past winners have included Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler and Alice Munro.

NEW YORK: Gwyneth Paltrow is launching a lifestyle publishing line called, of course, goop.

Paltrow’s goop press will be curated in conjunctio­n with Grand Central Life & Style, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing. The first release will be Paltrow’s “It’s All Easy” cookbook, which comes out in April. A beauty book is scheduled for next fall.

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