Jonathan Franzen: Few Families Are Happy When a Fiction Writer Shows Up

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Every writer aspires to write the Great American Novel. Jonathan Franzen, who hit the stage at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music in Nashville, Tennessee, last night to discuss his latest book, Purity, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), has written five.

Franzen, whose previous works include The Corrections, the winner of the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction, and 2011’s Freedom, winner of the John Gardner Fiction Award, crafted his new book around a young college graduate, Pip, who finds herself saddled with $130,000 in student debt and no direction in life.

Excerpt from M.B. Roberts’ article in parade- Read more

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7 Steps to Reframe and Change Your Relationship With Stress

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Stress is the modern-day plague. Anxious, overworked, and overwhelmed are the words describing many American’s lives. Stress has been associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. Stress can even shrink the brain according to new studies. In the workplace, stress-related health problems amount to more than $180 billion in healthcare expenses each year.

It’s pretty clear that stress is the enemy. But could stress also be an ally? PsychologistKelly McGonigal has led the charge with her research undermining the conventional view that stress is bad. Rather than be at the mercy of your stress, their are powerful benefits when you choose to master your stress. McGonigal says that people are able to “transform fear into courage, isolation into connection, and suffering into meaning.”

Here are seven steps to change your relationship with stress and make stress your ally:

Excerpt from Thai Nguyen’s article in the Huffington Post- Read more

Writing to help and heal

Grow Your Value finalist Emily Reeves never planned to publish a book about losing her younger brother, a Navy SEAL who served in Afghanistan, when she began privately writing about her experience with grief after he was killed in 2011. In the month following his death, Emily wrote her brother deeply personal letters describing her feelings and what happened that day. In a fog of confusion and pain, she turned to the writing process to feel the deep connection she had with her only sibling.

“I started writing to him, knowing he would never get them,” Emily told MSNBC. “I knew he was gone, but it was something I needed to do to get feelings off of my chest.” She didn’t realize it at the time, but this marked a new chapter in her life and career.

Excerpt from Mika Brzezinski’s article on MSNBC.com- Read more

Review: In ‘Membering, Austin Clarke delivers a perceptive account of the writing life

Austin Clarke, best known as the Giller Prize-winning author of The Polished Hoe, belongs to the group of writers born in the West Indies during the 1930s and raised during the diminution of colonial power. Almost all these writers – Andrew Salkey, V. S. Naipaul, George Lamming, Kamau Brathwaite and Sam Selvon, among others – immigrated to England, where they instigated what is now considered to be the Golden Age of Caribbean literature. Clarke chose a different route and moved to Toronto in 1955.

Excerpt from RABINDRANATH MAHARAJ’s review in the Globe and Mail- Read More 

The joy of elusive writing

The joy of elusive writing

If your narrator has got a bad memory, you are supposed to be a good writer. With everyday talk of memory and the doings of unconscious, the tenor of fiction and non-fiction writings has altogether changed, and the commingling of reality and fantasy is not only ignorable but also desirable.

Now, if you want to be a good writer, write as elusively as possible. Leave as much to the imagination of the reader as you can afford because the onus of the credibility of texts has shifted to what they call readers’ response. What is of prime importance is the interpretive potential of the text. To add, the rubrics of ‘the unreliability of language’ and ‘contingence of meanings’ have stretched the frontiers of fiction beyond national boundaries and native cultural locations. The art of literary writing seems to be hinged around the notion that it is the modes of remembrance and presentation of life that count, not life itself.

Excerpt from Sibghatullah Khan’s article in The News on Sunday- Read more

An interview with novelist Katrina Kittle

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Though born in Illinois, novelist Katrina Kittle has lived in the Dayton area since first grade with the exception of one year spent travelling and writing in various areas.

Kittle is the author of “Traveling Light” (2000), “Two Truths and a Lie” (2001),”The Kindness of Strangers” (2006) and “The Blessings of the Animals” (2010), all with HarperPerennial.

“The Kindness of Strangers” was a BookSense pick and the winner of the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction. Early chapters from that novel earned her grants from both the Ohio Arts Council and Culture Works. “The Blessings of the Animals” was an Indie Next pick (August 2010), a Midwest Connections pick (September 2010), and chosen by the Women’s National Book Association as one of 10 Great Group Reads for National Book Group Month (October 2010). Katrina’s first tween novel, “Reasons to Be Happy” (2011), was published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.

Excerpt from Sharon Short’s article in the Dayton Daily News- Read more

Author uses life with autism as part of narrative


Benjamin Kellogg’s “Noah and Logan” series seeks to help children learn basic life and social skills.

The next children’s book your son or daughter learns from may soon come from a 21-year-old professional writer in Mexico, New York, but if it weren’t for the advent of technology and the writer’s own resiliency, the books may never have reached your child’s hands.

Benjamin Kellogg is an adult living with autism. He earned his associate degree in arts and humanities and social science, with a concentration in writing, from Cayuga Community College in 2012.

Excerpt from Ethan Powers’ article in the Clarence Bee- Read more