#AWP17 Featured Presenter Q&A with Karen Joy Fowler

AWP | January 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: It's such an extensive program; I haven't made my way through all of it yet! But I'm focused on politics, so events like “Magical Realism as an Agent for Social Change” and “Middle Americans: How the Flyover Country responds to War” appeal to me. I'm eager to hear Carmen Machado, Kij Johnson, and Naomi Williams speak since I admire their work tremendously.

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: I was on the National Book Award jury, so the longlist, shortlist, and winning writers are all, in my opinion, tremendous. I also loved A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Jane Hamilton's The Lombards, and Ann Patchett's Commonwealth.

Q: Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
A: Years ago, I got an NEA at a time when I most needed it. Today I help find funding for the Clarion Workshop at UC San Diego and we rejoice in those years when the NEA helps us out there.

Q: When AWP was founded 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: More community and less solitude.

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: I'm hoping someone has advice for me on how to be a writer and a person in the next four years.

Q: If you’ve been to Washington, DC, what places do you recommend our attendees visit?
A: DC is under hostile take-over. Go see the sort of fine presidents we used to elect at their various memorials. I particularly like the FDR site.


Karen Joy Fowler Karen Joy Fowler has written literary, contemporary, historical, and science fiction. Her novels include Sarah Canary and The Jane Austen Book Club, and most recently We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014.

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