Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

A Fab Week for Fig Tree

One of this week’s projects for me in my job at Fig Tree Books is preparing the February newsletter. (If you’re not yet subscribing to the Fig Tree newsletter, you can remedy that right over here!) A couple of issues, back, I established a new “column” for the newsletter that I’ve dubbed the “Kvell Korner.” It’s a spot where we can share especially good news/press/honors about our authors, books, and company.

This past week provided some excellent material to be “kornered.” First, from the Jewish press came Sandee Brawarsky’s spring books preview article for The Jewish Week, which opens as follows: “While there’s frequent news these days of bookstores closing and publishers downsizing, the really good news is that two new publishers interested in Jewish literature are introducing their first titles this season.” Yes, Fig Tree Books is one of them! You can find the full article, which also touts two of our forthcoming novels, The Book of Stone and Safekeepingonline.

Our authors and the rest of our team are also regular readers of Poets & Writers magazine. So we were thrilled to discover that the magazine’s editors had chosen Fig Tree for a standalone piece. We are the focus of the “Small Press Points” column in P&W‘s March/April 2015 issue, which you can find now on newsstands and online.

Reading Patrick Modiano

So grateful to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy for live-streaming last night’s “Reading Patrick Modiano” event in New York. On a cold winter night, it was lovely to stay in and watch the discussion of the work of one of my favorite writers. Check out the archived video here.

When Writing in the First Person Makes You Feel “Wretched”

I don’t always expect to find instructive “writing about writing” in the standalone “Style” magazine that sometimes accompanies the Sunday New York Times, but over the girlindarkweekend I was pulled into this article on memoirist Anna Lyndsey.

Here’s the section that caught my reading-as-a-writer attention, in part because it resonates with my own experience, and in part because I’ve been thinking about variations in point-of-view in memoiristic writing as part of the work I’ve been doing in a too-often aforementioned essay lately: “[S]he tried to write about her experience, but even the act of writing ‘I’ was enough to make her wretched. So she wrote in the third person instead. ‘The girl in the dark did this, she did that . . . it was a bit like a fairy tale.’ It was only after an agent, who had heard about her situation, asked to read her work and requested she change voice that Lyndsey entered her own story.”

What do you think? Have you tried writing about “personal” experiences in nonfiction using a pov other than first-person? And did anyone attempt to dissuade you from so doing (successfully or otherwise)? Do tell!

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