This Thursday, in Newton Centre, the Jewish books Web site JBooks will team up with JVibe, a magazine for Jewish teens, to present Get Lit 2008, a literary event in Newton Centre. The event, which will take place at the Union Street Restaurant and bar, will feature conversations with several Massachusetts-based authors, including Jon Papernick, the current writer-in-residence at Emerson College.
I reached Papernick, author of the novel Who by Fire, Who by Blood, by email yesterday, and asked him a couple of questions.
PHX: Obviously the ethnic and political
conflicts in the Middle East and in the United States heavily inform your work.
What role do you think art – specifically, literature – plays or can play in the
evolution (or resolution) of international conflicts?JP: I'm not certain that literature plays any role in the evolution or
resolution of international conflicts. It's hard to imagine that those holding
the reins of power have any idea that most of us writers exist, and they
certainly don't have the time to read our works. I think it's a little vain to
think that a book can change the world, particularly considering that readership
in North America is in the midst of a slow and steady decline.On the
other hand, I think that literature can hold a mirror up to the world and
reflect it back in a more human and less biased way than one might see pictured
in the media. In that sense, I think that literature represents a truer history
of the world we live in than many of the media accounts.PHX: Are you looking forward to critiquing your published work in front of an
audience? What are you most nervous about? What do you think the audience can
learn from that experience?
JP: Actually, I
am not going to be critiquing a published work in front of an audience on
Thursday, but something I self published when I was 19 years old, and that is
truly more terrifying than sharing anything that was ever published
legitimately.I'm really most nervous about showing how terrible a writer
I actually was at the age of 19. In fact, many of my students Emerson college
are significantly better writers than I was at that age, and that is what I
think people can learn from this: Stick with it and hone your craft and don't
give up, and one day, your work may be published.
Coming up -- a similar short Q&A with another author who'll appear at Union Street: Tova Mirvis.