Today we are excited to feature one of our Writefest Keynote Speakers, Phong Nguyen!
He is the author of a novel, The Adventures of Joe Harper, and two short story collections: Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History and Memory Sickness. He is currently the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri.
What is the best advice you can give to someone who is looking to write their first book?
I'm going to give two answers to this question:
A) Read widely. Saul Bellow said that "A writer is a reader moved to emulation." It will not only make you a better and more versatile writer, but it will furnish you with new ideas and give you a sense of what works and what doesn't in the context of literature. Reading regularly is also a good cure for writer's block. If you read enough, sooner or later you will find that you have something to say.
B) Follow your curiosity. Sometimes new writers feel a sense of urgency, that they must write a book and publish it right away. But often one's writing is better served by simply exploring, not rushing things, but allowing yourself to pursue whatever it is you are passionate about at the moment. Allowing the act of writing to become an act of discovery will not only make the act of writing more fulfilling, but the resulting book will then be more apt to surprise you (and your readers).
Want to hear more from Phong Nguyen at Writefest? He'll be speaking Saturday morning at the festival, and his detailed schedule will be posted on our website soon.
Be sure to secure your tickets to Writefest if you haven’t already!