Tuesday December 4, 2012
Every story takes places somewhere. But how do authors decide where to set their characters in motion? How does setting influence character, mood, and action? And what difference does it make if the place is real or imagined? Jennifer Haigh, Hari Kunzru, Sonya Chung, and editor Jennifer Acker discussed the power of place in fiction. Co-sponsored by The Common, a new print literary magazine publishing literature and images with a strong sense of place.
Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission, My Revolutions, and Gods Without Men, as well as a short story collection, Noise. His work has been translated into twenty-one languages and won him prizes including the Somerset Maugham award, the Betty Trask prize of the Society of Authors and a British Book Award. He is Deputy President of English PEN, a patron of the Refugee Council and a member of the editorial board of Mute magazine. His short stories and journalism have appeared in diverse publications including The New York Times, Guardian, New Yorker, Washington Post, Times of India, Wired and New Statesman.
Sonya Chung is the author of the novel Long for this World. Her stories, reviews, & essays have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Crab Orchard Review, Tin House, Sonora Review, FiveChapters, and BOMB Magazine, among others. She is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize nomination, the Charles Johnson Fiction Award, and the Bronx Council on the Arts Writers’ Fellowship & Residency. She contributes regularly to the literary blog The Millions and teaches fiction at Columbia University.
Jennifer Haigh is the author of four novels: the New York Times bestsellers Faith and The Condition; Baker Towers, winner of the 2006 PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author; and Mrs. Kimble, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her stories have appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, and many other publications, including The Best American Short Stories 2012. A collection, titled News From Heaven, will be published by HarperCollins in February 2013.Jennifer Acker is the founding editor of The Common, a new print literary magazine based at Amherst College publishing literature and images with a strong sense of place. Her essays, reviews, and translations have been published in Harper’s, The New Inquiry, Publishers Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, and her short stories have appeared in literary magazines such as Sonora Review and Ascent. She has taught at Amherst College, and is a Faculty Fellow at New York University, Abu Dhabi, in 2012-13.