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She labored over scraps and fragments for years, saying “I always thought about writing more than I actually wrote.” But when Erin Morgenstern finally gathered her pieces into a whole, she created an atmospheric world in her debut novel, “The Night Circus.” It captivated readers and made her a bestselling author.
Still just 34, Morgenstern appeared Friday, November 9 at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul and charmed a nearly full house with stories about her characters and her creative process.
Morgenstern was the final guest in a 2012 Talking Volumes author-appearance season that included Junot Diaz, Jeffrey Toobin and Abraham Verghese. She was interviewed by Kerri Miller of Minnesota Public Radio.
Among various things that influenced the Smith College theater major and visual artist was the British troupe Punchdrunk Theater and its “Sleep No More,” which sends audiences through an elaborately decorated series of rooms in a giant New York City warehouse to experience a wordless, nocturnal “Macbeth” based mostly on movement and atmosphere. “I loved that production,” Morgentstern said. “It was immersive and unforgettable.”
Morgenstern also credited her own “vivid dreams" for helping her develop the circus world surrounding her novel’s cast of characters.
A lifelong reader, Morgenstern said the as a girl she often took books into her closet, where nothing could distract her entry into fictional worlds. When she started trying to write her own fiction, she said, she “learned that writing is a really messy process” full of re-ordering, tossing out and revising. “I don’t write in chapters, and I don’t write in order,” she said. “I’m not really an outliner, as is probably dreadfully obvious.”
Morgentstern’s fans keep urging her to come out with another novel. She has three or four ideas in progress, but “my next book will be a while.” And it won’t be a sequel to “The Night Circus,” she said.
The Massachusetts native is in the process of moving from Boston to New York. There, she said, she hopes to get back to writing after a long period on tour to promote her first novel.
View of the 2010 book fair
The 12th annual Twin Cities Book Festival will be held at the historic Progress Center Building on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 13. Among the new attractions: Free Parking!
Events include a giant book fair featuring displays from publishers and literary agents, readings and panels with world-class authors, a used book sale, and storytelling in a children's pavilion. Plus assorted freebies. All sponsored by Rain Taxi Review of Books. Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Photo by Arthur Pollock
Author Junot Diaz, pictured here at the living room window of his Cambridge apartment in August, has a special reason to smile today.
Fiction writer Junot Diaz has won one of the "genius" grants awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition to considerable prestige, the award means big money: Diaz will be one of 23 honorees to receive $500,000 over five years. Diaz, who teaches writing at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his novel "The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao."
Reached Monday afternoon via email, Diaz said "Hate to sound Hollywood but this one is for my community whose sacrifice and courage made me possible," referring to the Dominican immigrant subculture in which he grew up.
As the opening author for the Star Tribune/ MPR Talking Volumes series last month at the Fitzgerald Theater, Diaz was a smart, lively and salty-tongued guest. His third and latest book is the just-published story collection "This Is How You Lose Her," The MacArthur Foundation's release says he "uses raw, vernacular dialogue and spare, unsentimental prose to draw readers into the various and distinct worlds that immigrants must straddle."
Diaz also loves sci-fi, and recently published a story called "Monstro" in the New Yorker. What will he do with that substantial wad of cash?
"I want to write my monster book," he said. "That's what this fellowship will do."
Read a profile of Diaz here: http://www.startribune.com/a1763 and a review of "This Is How You Lose Her" here: http://www.startribune.com/a1764 Also, video excerpts from his Talking Volumes appearance, with host Kerri Miller of MPR, below:
As marketing gimmicks go, Disney Publishing’s free interactive “Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book” is synergy at its slickest.
Pushing the digital convergence between the media giant and its corporate BFF Apple, the ebook of Tim Burton’s new stop-motion film is available exclusively through the iTunes iBookstore. It can only be viewed using iBooks 2 or later, or an iPad with iOS 5 or later.
Following the Frankenstein-parody plot of a live-action short Burton made in 1984, the new feature concerns a science-minded suburban boy's quest to resurrect his dead dog.
The iBook features storyboards, character sketches, videos, a video interview with Burton and soundtrack samples from longtime collaborator Danny Elfman, Neon Trees, Kimbra and Karen O. The ebook directs readers to the iTunes Store to buy the full soundtrack and score, and enables them to find local theaters where the film will be shown and buy tickets.
“Frankenweenie” opens Oct. 5.
The Printed Matter storefront on 10th Avenue in New York.
Printed Matter is to art and book lovers as an great big indy record store is to music fans. Each tim I visit the nonprofit store's Manhattan location, I always end up browsing much longer than I thought I would. It's a haven for zines, artists books, small-press books, chapbooks, catalogs, obscurities, hard-to-find periodicals and artist-writer collabs. Cool postcards, too.
Walker Art Center and Printed Matter launch a collaboration this week with "Over-Booked." The event brings merch and talks to the art center's shop, as well as related talks and an open house at the Walker's library to showcase it's Rosemary Furtak Collection.
The temporary show opens with a reception from 5-9 p.m. at the Walker's shop, with guests from Printed Matter present and books available for browsing and buying.
James Jenkin, executive director of Printed Matter, talks at 1 p.m. Saturday. The free event is in the Lecture Room.
Also on Saturday, the Walker hosts an open house from 1-3 p.m. in its library, which has a giant collection of modern art books, monographs, catalogs, clippings and periodicals from 1940 to the present.
That afternoon, there is a mini-fair of local indy publishers -- Rain Taxi, Midway Contemporary Art, Sam Hoolihan, OHM Editions, Location Books, Little Brown Mushroom, Katelyn Reece Farstad, Mystery Spot Books -- with books available for purchase.
A panel discussion at 3 p.m. Saturday, also in the Lecture Room, will focus on 21st-century publishing. On hand will be representatives from Twin Cities publishers Coffee House Press and Graywolf Press, Micawber's Books, and writer Brad Zellar.
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