Fan Girl Meets Famous Writers

I met so many amazing writers this spring and am finally getting around to blogging about it!

sapphire1 At the AWP convention in Denver, I spotted Sapphire
wrapping up what had been a long book signing session for her, with hundreds of
people in line. The movie “Precious” based on her novel Push had just come
out. She seemed exhausted but was very gracious.
I ran up to Sherman Alexie as we were both waiting for Leslie Marmon Silko to start her reading. I think I made him feel like a rock star and
he liked it. I gave him a postcard for my book and joked that I’d planned to
call it The Toughest Indian in the World but he’d already used the title. He has a great, joyful laugh.
lesliemarmonsilko Leslie Marmon Silko read from her forthcoming memoir about the Star People who have been visiting her and demanding that she paint giant portraits of them. She said all of her work is basically true from life but in the past she’s had to publish it as fiction. Some of her Star People paintings appear in the Winter 2010 issue of the Kenyon Review. I loved how she sounded so happy and satisfied to be published as a visual artist for the first time.
This is the poet Elizabeth Alexander, whose work is amazing. She wrote President Obama’s inaugural poem. I’m still blown away by her earliest work on the Venus Hottentot. I don’t think poets get approached by fangirls/fanboys for photo ops very often. She was pretty tickled by it. elizabethalexander
michaelchabon I’d met Michael Chabon a few weeks earlier at the Berkeley Library Authors Dinner benefit, and he kind of remembered me. In Berkeley we had talked about writing speculative fiction and my fear that working in a genre I loved so much would take away the fun of reading fantasy and sci fi. ¬†When we met again in Denver, it was just before his keynote speech. He agreed to a photo as long as I promised to laugh at all his jokes and say aah at the poignant moments. I said, What if I mess up and laugh at the poignant moments and ooh at the jokes? He said that would be ok too. I’m pretty sure I did it right.
David Henry Hwang came to Stanford recently for a 30th anniversary student production of his play “FOB.”He wrote it in 1980 as a sophomore and produced it in his dorm. It was picked up by Joe Papp at the Public Theatre in New York, launching David’s career as the country’s most prominent Asian American playwright. I was fascinated to hear him and the other original cast members reflect on the politics of Asian American theatre/ acting/ casting, then and now. davidhenryhwang
molliekatzen I told Mollie Katzen that I’d learned to cook from her (except for my mom’s food). Her Enchanted Broccoli Forest was the first and main cookbook I ever used. I was feeling shy to be one of the special guests at the Berkeley Library Foundation Authors Dinner. She “adopted” me and showed me the back route through the library to the bathroom, so we could get there without being accosted by (her) fans. She said she likes talking to fans but not when she’s trying to go to the bathroom. It’s good to have boundaries.
I was excited to have a chance to thank Abraham Verghese in person for his review of my book for the S.F. Chronicle and to tell him how much his work had meant to me. His memoir My Own Country, about being an immigrant doctor treating AIDS patients in middle America in the 1980s, was the first book I’d ever read that bridged both the Indo-American and the queer experience.
(Berkeley Authors Dinner)

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