Language Arts Live Reading

On March 4, I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful prose reading of James Hannaham’s novel “God Says No” in another installment of the Language Arts Live series. I found Hannaham incredibly entertaining and engaging. Although this was my first prose reading, I could certainly imagine why they would prove difficult. The length of novels obviously restricts a reading, and then there’s choosing which part you want to read– what part you really like, what part you think doesn’t require too much background info, what part exemplifies the novel to you… Anyways, I was fully enthralled the entire time, and I can’t wait until I find the time to read the whole book.

Hannaham, who teaches creative writing at Pratt, has had many stories and pieces of criticism published in all sorts of impressive journals and collections. He was incredibly funny and very personable, and he read for about a half hour, then moved to questions.

I was sitting there truly enjoying myself; I didn’t have any particular questions but I wish people just kept coming up with more– I wanted to hear him answering them forever! His answers were so great, a perfect mixture of wit, real advice, and honest remarks. He loves to create, loves to get inside of his characters’ heads. I found his most helpful piece of advice to be that writers need to be okay with cutting down their writing. He explained how proud he felt when he finally learned to get rid of tangents in his work, and see how much better it could become.

He also talked about how he used to separate all writers into two categories: those who helped, and those who hurt. With an unknowing laugh, an audience member asked him to explain this statement. To him, literature seemed to either distract him or influence him in a totally positive way.

In any case, the reading was a great Thursday night activity. Hannaham was the first of three prose readings in the Language Arts Live series, and I’m looking forward to the other two. The series is being co-curated by one of my current professors, Eden Osucha. She made it an assignment to attend at least one of the three– but I’m certainly planning to go to all of them!

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About nbrouder
I'm a senior at Bates College getting ready for thesis and the real world!

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