Arts & Culture / Mosaic / May 28, 2008

Author gives advice about genre writing

Students and faculty were treated to a reading by writer Rebecca Barry on Monday in the Alumni Room. The event, which was sponsored by the Caxton Club, started off with a brief introduction from sophomore and Caxton Reading Group coordinator Lauren Assaf. Rebecca Barry read from her book Later, at the Bar. She was very interactive with the audience when she read. She would often stop and explain certain parts that amused her and related it to her personal experiences as an advice columnist. The reading dealt with love, romance, breaking up, drinking, and relationships among other themes. Barry would often laugh at what she was reading and how it reminded her of other personal experiences.

The audience was very receptive to what Barry read and her side commentaries. When she would laugh and joke with them, they would laugh and were amused with what they heard. Barry was animated and fun to listen to as she engaged the audience in her reading.

After the reading, there was a short question and answer session. Barry said in response to the classification of her works that some stories were too short to stand on their own and that there is an overall narrative arc to all of them. Other questions dealt with her experience as a writer and where she draws her creativity.

She gave practical advice to future writers about genre writing and her own personal experiences of being writer. She said that her life is where she draws her writing material from and sacrifices she has had to make for her choice to be a writer. All in all, she answered each question with insightful enthusiasm that was engaging for both her and the audience. “She’s as engaging in person as she is on page,” said Assaf.

Copies of her book Later, at the Bar were sold in the back of the Alumni room after her presentation and Barry stayed to give advice to students along with signing autographs. Judging from the reactions of the audience, this event went off with great success for both Barry and the Knox community.

“I love this place,” said Barry. “It feels good to be here.”

“I thought it was wonderful,” said senior Jessey Nickells. “It’s great that Knox brings in all these writers to expose us to what’s going on in the writing world. I loved it, it was great.”

Patrick Cogar

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