The week I spent with Robert Olen Butler and Paul Harding at Hever castle was marvelous and memorable, not just for the spectular venu that the castle provided for the conference. It was really reinvigorating and reinspiring to get into the work of our eleven participants, an incredibly varied bunch of backgrounds and sensibilities all of whom had serious literary chops and distinctive voices. To know that the written word is not dead, that it still has such passionate afficinados with whom I could share the insights into the writing game and tricks of the trade I have picked up over the decades, and could make specific textual suggestions on how to make their work clearer and stronger, to “make every word tell,” in Strunk and White’s famous injunction, to “love” the writing, as William Shawn used to tell us at the New Yorker, until the sound and flow and sense of the words become what they are talking about. I particularly enjoyed interacting with two great fiction writers, and I think the participants benefited from having the perspectives of both novelists and a literary journalist. It was fun, but intense. Some of these writers we are definitely going to be hearing more from. Ic raise my glass to Nancy Gerbault for putting together such an interesting gathering.
My Week at Hever Castle, by Alex Shoumatoff
December 13, 2012Abroad Writers Conference, Hever Castle 2012
I absolutely love the fact that run-on sentences are okay!!! I hate it when that happens, but I do it all the time. Thoughts stream; from brain to paper. No editing needed!!. Well…sometimes…always, but I won’t say why. Right. Write.