Min Jin Lee, author of the bestselling novel Pachinko, recounts how she found her voice, going from a young student struggling with the English language to a published author promoting her own work. “I write novels, and now and then I give lectures,” she writes. “I come from many tribes—immigrant, introvert, working class, Korean, female, public school, Queens, Presbyterian. Growing up, I never knew that people like me could write books or talk in public. To this day, I worry that if I mess up, others like me might not be asked or allowed. This is how outsiders and newcomers feel. It is neither rational nor fair. I know.”
“Throughout the Crash, I wrote free-hand, not caring about the style or if something I wrote in the afternoon contradicted something I’d established in the story that morning. The priority was simply to get the ideas surfacing and growing. Awful sentences, hideous dialogue, scenes that went nowhere – I let them remain and ploughed on.” Newly minted Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro on writing The Remains of the Day in four weeks.
You might never be able to finish Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, but you can stay in his hotel. France is marketing its literary heritage with hotels named after famous authors. At the aforementioned Marcel, guests can stay in rooms named after Proust characters. If you aren’t a fan of madeleines, you can check into the R Kipling or Le Pavillon des Lettres.
A couple months ago, Melville House published a biography of Roberto Bolaño, constructed from interviews the author gave throughout his life. At Full-Stop, Andrew Mitchell Davenport reads the biography, suggesting that the preponderance of myths about the author “makes elucidating Bolaño’s biography a moral issue.” Pair with: our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s Bolaño syllabus.
“There is also a particularly awkward and dispiriting form of loneliness that settles in the shoulders when faced with a room filled with social media connections, those digital acquaintances who remain strangers in the flesh.” Life amongst the introverts, and other dispatches from AWP 2013.