At the April meeting you will hear the inspiring story of how first-time novelist Ann Weisgarber overcame fear and doubt to complete her first book -- a novel that was published by Penguin.
Here, in her own words, Ann shares part of her journey:
“I was a reader, not a writer. I taught sociology, not literature, at a junior college. But when I was inspired by a photograph of a woman, I was determined to write a story. I didn’t know anything about writing fiction, but that was a minor detail. I would figure it out. Libraries were full of books, and if those authors had managed it, so could I.
“It took seven years to write The Personal History of Rachel DuPree. During the first four years, I didn’t think about publication, platforms, or finding an audience. I wrote because the woman in the photo sat on my shoulder and prodded me on. I focused on learning how to write, one word at a time. I attended writing workshops and listened to harsh critiques from fellow novice writers. The lettering on my computer’s delete key faded as I revised, tossed out pages, and tried again.
“Praise? I rarely heard that. I kept on, though, fueled by an I can’t stop now attitude and the willingness to revise. You can do the same. It’s a matter of hard work and determination to do the best you can.
“In my presentation, I’ll talk about my route from novice writer to publication with Penguin. If I can do it, so can you.”
Ann Weisgarber lives in Sugar Land, Texas, and met SLPA board member Linda Austin last summer at Left Bank Books. Weisgarber’s first novel, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, has been published in England, France and the United States. It was nominated for England’s Orange Prize and the Orange Award for New Writers. It won the Langum Prize for American Historical Fiction and the Stephen Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction. It was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a finalist for the Ohioana Award. The film rights have been optioned by actress Viola Davis. Weisgarber’s second novel will be published in 2012.