Pulitzer Prize winner gives students literary advice
As part of the spring semester’s Poetry-in-the-Round series, Pulitzer Prize winning and bestselling novelist Jennifer Egan visited Seton Hall.
The Poetry-in-the-Round is the literary branch of the Seton Hall Arts Council. As director of PiTR, Nathan Oates invites compelling and celebrated writers to Seton Hall University each year to read and discuss their works with students and community members.
Oates said that many literary critics have claimed, “literature is dead…but authors such as Egan have proven the contrary.”
In 2011, Egan was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and a HBO series deal for her novel “A Visit from the Goon Squad.”
As part of the presentation, Egan read the first chapter of “Goon Squad” and explained the basis for its obscure narrative structure. According to Egan, the novel was “inspired by the theft of [her] wallet in New York City.”
She described the book as modeled after the concept album, a big story that is told through various songs. Though the novel itself seems like a conglomerate of random characters and events, they are all interrelated through the concept of redemption, change and transformation.
Egan engaged students in a Q-and-A session. Questions ranged from personal interest, research
behind storyline and hints of future works.
Most students were particularly intrigued by the advice Egan gave to aspiring writers. “Whatever you do,” said Egan “make sure you are reading and writing a lot, look into joining a writing workshop and have fun.”
Senior and creative writing major Mike LoSasso was particularly excited about the novelist.
“I found the reading as well as the event to be enjoyable,” LoSasso said. “The author read with clear knowledge of her work and explained the background form which the novel sprouted making it all the more interesting.”
Egan also signed copies of her works for studentts.
“I will try to attend the next one as well, I find them great for discovering new authors and work to read as well as a great opportunity to pick the brains of these accomplished individuals,” said LoSasso.
Novelist Christopher Coake will be the guest at the next PiTR on Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the Walsh Gallery at 7 p.m.
Christopher Adams can be reached at email@example.com.