Monday, April 18, 2016

A Student Reading at Malaprop's

Yesterday members of my Advanced Prose class read at Malaprop's, Asheville's gem of a bookstore that recently made national news with a New York Times op-ed by its manager. Malaprop's hosts this monthly event called Writers at Home for the Great Smokies Writing Program-- as well as any number of other author events. (My class was followed later by Robert Morgan, introduced by Ron Rash.)

Reading to an audience is part of an author's  life -- if you're lucky enough to have a bookstore host you. And though these particular writers haven't published yet, this was an invaluable experience -- picking something good to read that would entertain a listener and make him want to know more -- and picking something that fits the allotted time -- six minutes, in this case. 

In some cases, this involve editing -- leaving out bits that are obscure, leaving out bits that aren't necessary. Such pruning usually results in a stronger piece.

And then there's the experience of standing up in front of strangers and presenting them with a little piece of your heart. It can be daunting.

I'm happy to say there was a good crowd and the readers acquitted themselves well. That's Tommy Hays, the director of the Great Smokies Writing Program, at the mic; the nine who read are in the front row.

May there be many, many more readings at bookstores for all of them!


Ms. A said...

I don't think I could stand up in front of an audience and do anything. Not my idea of enjoyable.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

How exciting it must have been for them to share their work. I know I would find it a privilege to have the opportunity to share my work if I had the opportunity and the skill to do so.! Have a grand week!

Anvilcloud said...

Seems like a great opportunity.

Frances said...

Vicki, I enjoyed seeing the photographs of the Malaprop shop...I'd been curious for a while to know what it looked like. (Thanks also for the link to the NYT op ed that i'd missed.)

Once upon a time there were many independent bookshops around NYC and I'd go to an author's reading just about every week. There is nothing like being introduced to a new author this way, or even to hear a favorite author read his/her book to you.

I remember attending a reading by a very nervous Kate Atkinson on her very first USA book tour. I'd read UK copy of her first book and so knew what a treat we were in for, and afterwards gave her one of my little watercolors. She mailed me a thank you note. Certainly, her writing career has had legs! Perhaps you might pass this story on to your students who might be trying to get more comfortable reading their own works in public.


Jime said...

Joan and I visited Malaprops several years ago and loved the place for its warmth and diversity. I bought my first Vicky Lane book there.

katy gilmore said...

Congrats to all - and their teacher!

Darla said...

Kudos to those very brave souls! I'm terrible at that - my voice quivers and I read far too rapidly. Readings by authors was one of my favorite aspects of the Portland Public Library's "Brown Bag Lunches" way back when I was a legal secretary; it was great to take a break, walk across the street, and listen to an author. That's how I found one of my favorite authors Chris Bohjalian as well as being introduced to Julia Spencer-Fleming as she was just entering the published author world with "In the Bleak Midwinter." That reminds me that I want to find something like that here in my new home! :)