Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Oh, what a busy time it has been!

A Book is Born

BookBirthdayShelfieIt’s a BIG week for all of us at Fig Tree Books. Yesterday was the official publication date for our first title, a novel by Alan Cheuse titled Prayers for the Living. (Let’s just say that I spent a lot more of my weekend time working for the “day job” this past Saturday/Sunday than I normally do! But I certainly wasn’t alone in putting forth some extra pre-publication efforts.)

If you’re in Brooklyn or Washington, you can attend readings that Alan will be giving this week at BookCourt and Politics and Prose, respectively. Details on the Fig Tree Books website. Oh, and there’s a new issue of the Fig Tree Books newsletter available, too.

An Atypically Event-filled Time

Outside of work, this past week has brought some wonderful events and rendez-vous. On Thursday evening, I attended the National Book Critics Circle awards ceremony for the first time. (Like the Oscars for bibliophiles!) Seriously, the suspense prior to the announcement of the winning book/author in each category can be pretty intense! A recording of the evening, including Rita Dove’s stunning introduction of Toni Morrison, is now available. Tom Beer got it right when he noted the following:

At the reception following the ceremony, I caught up with Kate Tuttle, who mentored me in book-reviewing way back in the 1990s in Massachusetts. We hadn’t seen each other for too many years. I was also delighted to meet “in real life” Ron Charles, who has edited two reviews of mine for The Washington Post, and Mark Athitakis, with whom I’ve exchanged many tweets over time.

Friday morning, I had the great pleasure of meeting with Stuart Rojstaczer, who was in town to accept the National Jewish Book Award for Debut Fiction (I had to miss that awards ceremony on Wednesday evening because I’d committed to attending a fundraiser for my nephew’s school–believe me, my typical week is not filled with so much excitement!). Stuart’s winning novel, The Mathematician’s Shiva, was one of my favorite reads for 2014. I’ve made that pretty clear to Stuart over time online, but in this instance, I was able to tell him so face-to-face (and not only because he was generous enough to treat me to a meal!). Stuart also treated me to some writing advice that I’m trying to implement this week—ask me more about it when I’ve had some time to see how it seems to be working for me.

And the weekend brought still another memorable conversation-at-table with a writer who was visiting New York: my old friend Andrea. We had a lot to catch up on, writing-wise and otherwise, and as usual, the time was too short! (As we said good-bye, we began formulating a plan for a shared writing retreat.)

And Now, for Something Completely Different: Going Off-the-Grid

So it has been a busy and inspiring time, filled with good people, good literature—and good food! Now, however, I’m going to take a bit of a breather. Beginning tomorrow, I’ll be “off-the-grid” until next Tuesday. Blog posts will resume shortly thereafter. I hope that you all have a good several days!

5 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Alan Cheuse! That’s a big deal. Congrats to Fig Tree.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      It is very exciting, thanks, John! Btw, Alan will be doing a Reddit “AMA” today at 2pm (Eastern). “Ask him anything!” Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/2zgu9s/i_am_alan_cheuse_author_of_prayers_for_the_living/

      1. Whoops. I guess I missed that. Out getting a haircut before my “big” reading tour!

        1. Erika Dreifus says:

          Understood! Travel safely & happily!

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