#AWP17 Featured Presenter Q&A with Hannah Tinti
AWP | February 2017
Event Title: Jennifer Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, and Hannah Tinti: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau
Description: This event will bring together three engaging contemporary female writers to read and discuss their craft. Jennifer Egan is the author of five books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. Karen Joy Fowler is the author of nine books, including We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award. Hannah Tinti is the author of three books, including The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which will be published in 2017.
Participants: Jennifer Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, Hannah Tinti
Location: Ballroom A, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level Three
Date & Time: Thursday, February 9, 2017 from 4:30–5:45 p.m.
Q: What are some of the conference events or bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing?
A: I’ve been coming to the AWP conference for the past twelve years. My favorite part is always the bookfair—making my way through the tables and seeing what exciting new books and magazines and ideas are coming out from so many amazing small presses. I also love the unexpected crossing of paths between old and new friends that always seems to happen while going different ways on an escalator.
Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: I’ve been on a graphic novel/comics binge lately, and two that have blown my mind/changed my perception of things are Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt and Syllabus by Lynda Barry.
Q: Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
A: It has made an enormous difference for One Story, which is a non-profit organization. The grants we’ve received have allowed us to keep our doors open for fourteen years, and helped us to publish 250 different writers from around the world.
Q: When AWP was found in 1967, there were a dozen creative writing programs. Now there are approximately 1,800 undergraduate and graduate programs. What do you think has changed for readers and writers since creative writing became ascendant as an academic discipline?
A: One change is the vibrant explosion of small presses. I’ve also noticed the spread of creative writing classes outside of academia. It’s been exciting to see the literary world expand this way, and to see so many people coming into the field later in life, bringing their own unique experiences.
Q: What advice can you offer to writers who must navigate between the solitude of artistic work and our nation’s politics and culture at this moment?
A: Be kind to others. Be vigilant. Prepare for battle.
Q: If you’ve been to Washington, DC, what places do you recommend our attendees visit?
A: The National Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of African American History and Culture.
Q: If you could run into any author, contemporary or historical, at #AWP17, who would it be and what would you talk about?
A: It would be Charlotte Brontë and I would ask her about the tiny, tiny secret letters she used to communicate with her siblings.
Hannah Tinti is the author of the bestselling novel The Good Thief, which won The Center for Fiction's first novel prize, and the story collection Animal Crackers, a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her new novel, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, will be published in March 2017. She teaches creative writing at New York University’s MFA program and co-founded the Sirenland Writers Conference. Tinti is also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of One Story magazine, which won the AWP Small Press Publisher Award in 2014.