Reading Together 2013 Blog
I can’t thank you enough for selecting The Submission for your Reading Together program, and even more, for the hospitality you showed me. It was wonderful to spend a couple days in a city that combines the warmth of a small town with the vibrancy of a cultural center.
And what readers! I almost fell over when I met a book club who had spent four hours discussing my novel, give or take a little time spent on the carrot cake. And who caught a tiny change I had made between the hardcover and paperback versions. When I spoke, the audience’s energy was palpable and their questions stimulating. And seeing the student art inspired by The Submission and displayed at the library was among the most inspiring experiences I’ve had since publishing my book.
Both the community and the library staff have my admiration and gratitude for doing so much to support readers and writers. The ideas for programming for Reading Together were brilliant, and I wish I could have attended.
I’m working hard on my next book so I can get back to Kalamazoo...
Last fall, Amy Waldman won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction. Those of you who were able to take part in Waldman’s visits to Kalamazoo last week will certainly understand how she became the winner of this prize sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony Institute that promotes promising new authors. As the winner of this prize, Waldman joins quite a prominent collection of previous winners including Anne Tyler, Ann Patchett, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Toni Morrison. So if you haven’t read The Submission, I encourage you to do so and discover a promising, new author who just might become a favorite.
~Judith J. Bosshart, Library Director
T. F. Reed Memorial Library
I hope you had a chance to hear Amy Waldman this week, either at her thought-provoking talk on Tuesday evening about writing The Submission, or perhaps at Kalamazoo College on Wednesday when she dug a little deeper into the topic of writing fiction versus writing as a journalist. Maybe you even had the opportunity to ask her questions during the live web chat she graciously agreed to do at MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette. Whether or not you were fortunate enough to hear her speak, I’m happy to report that Kalamazoo is the richer for having had Amy in our midst.
Her authenticity, her sense of humor, her vulnerability, and her honest approach to writing fiction and continually learning something new in the process, all affirm what the selection committee has always known to be true: that our community conversation about a specific book, the hallmark of Reading Together, can only be heightened by having the opportunity to meet the author and learn more about her motivation and life experiences. Amy Waldman is no exception.
Amy’s visit is the springboard for many more events coming up in the next month. Please keep the momentum going and join us!
Amy Waldman in Kalamazoo
Amy Waldman will be arriving in Kalamazoo today and speaking tonight at 7pm in Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium. Hopefully that’s not the first you’re hearing of her visit, unlikely if you are reading this blog, but if it is, what great timing!
The Reading Together author event kicks of a month of great programming and has always deepened my understanding of the selected book and how and why it came to be. I’m sure this year’s event will not disappoint. Each year I look forward to learning more about the authors writing process and hearing how they talk about and present the book and how their perspective tweaks my own. I also look forward to hearing unexpected details from the author. There is usually some hidden aspect of the publishing process or unforeseen literary challenge that is brought up during the talk that surprises me. These unexpected moments are often elicited by great questions from the audience at the end of the prepared talk and that spontaneity is part of what makes the Q&A one of my favorite parts of each year’s program.
One area of publishing that you don’t often hear authors talk about is book jacket design. But like it or not, the wrong jacket can doom a great book from the beginning, and so jackets matter. As a teaser in anticipation of tonight’s unexpected moments you can read Amy Waldman and designer Rodrigo Corral comment on The Submission’s cover. See you all tonight!
We are excited to launch the 2013 Reading Together website where you can learn everything you’ll need to know about the events coming up in March and April around the themes of The Submission by Amy Waldman. On this site, you’ll find details about each event, online resources, suggestions for further reading and viewing, and informational blog posts from members of our steering committee. In addition, we’ll maintain an up-to-the-minute calendar of book discussions for anyone looking to participate in one.
We look forward to bringing our community together once again to discuss some important issues including: public art and how it impacts communities; trust and identity; and the influence of media on our perceptions.
Amy Waldman was a reporter for The New York Times for eight years. She spent three years as co-chief of the South Asia bureau after covering Harlem, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and the aftermath of 9/11. She was also a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where her stories included this look at Islam in the courts.
She has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and at the American Academy in Berlin. Her fiction has appeared in Boston Review and The Atlantic, and was anthologized in The Best American Non-Required Reading 2010. She lives with her family in Brooklyn. (From the author’s website.)