Last Friday, eager fantasy readers filled the Muelder room in Seymour Library. They’d come to hear the renown Patricia Wrede read from some of her works at an event hosted by Caxton Club.
When introducing Wrede, senior Laura Zuber of Caxton Club gave the audience a choice between her reading from either the Seven Towers or the most recent manuscript of her up and coming new novel, 13th Child. Judging from the excited gasps the audience gave when she mentioned sharing her most recent manuscript, she took that as a cue to read the first three chapters of 13th Child.
As she read, the audience sat in silence as she read in a voice that sounded like her characters. She read in a clear voice that portrayed her characters well, being funny at light-hearted moments and taking on a more serious tone over the more adult situations. The audience gave a disappointed sigh when she had finished the third chapter and told them they would have to wait till next year to find out the rest. She was met with a unanimous round of applause and cheering.
After the reading there was a Q&A session. When one student asked what the hardest part of writing is for her she said stopping was the hardest thing to do. She laughed about how she gets caught up in the process of creating an alternate history.
Another student asked what her opinion was on genre writing in comparison to mainstream fiction. She first answered with a smart response of “what are people actually reading?” which won the applause and laughter of the audience. She explained how everything in writing is set in a genre of some sort or another. According to her, the biggest difficulty for genre writing is in academic environments, which tend to choose mainstream fiction.
“The good stuff is all good. It’s just a matter of taste,” she said.
She went on to give advice to up-and-coming writers in the audience who want to break into the writing business. She gave tips on publishing that was a mixture of common sense and practicality in writing and selling one’s work. She mentioned science fiction conventions, which are helpful to writers for sharing experiences and getting advice from each other. Her main advice was to write, practice, send works out continuously and always get feedback.
After the Q&A, copies of her two works Dealing with dragons and Sorcery and Cecilia were up for sale to the audience. These two books quickly sold out as members of the audience rushed the table to meet Wrede in person. Audience members, made up of both professors and students, seemed to enjoy the event. Emily Anderson, faculty advisor for the Caxton Club, said she thought the event had a favorable reaction with the audience and that Wrede was an eloquent reader.
“She gave good advice,” said Zuber.
“She’s one of my heroes,” said senior Rebecca King.