As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “Three Questions”. In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam in the week leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events.
We are thrilled to welcome Scottish-born writer Margot Livesey to the Book Jam. She is the best selling author of six books, including Eva Moves the Furniture, The House on Fortune Street and her newest, a “retelling” of Jane Eyre, The Flight of Gemma Hardy (2012) which is set between Scotland and Iceland in the 1960′s. Ms. Livesey is also the current Fiction Editor at Ploughshares, a renowned literary journal, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly. She has taught writing at many institutions such as Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, WIlliams College, Tufts University, and The Iowa Writer’s Workshop. For more information about her reading on Wednesday, March 14th or to reserve a seat, please contact The Norwich Bookstore at (802) 649-1114. This promises to be a very special event.
1) What three books have shaped you into the author you are today, and why?
The terrible novel I wrote while travelling round Europe and North Africa at the age of twenty-one, because it made me realise that I’d entirely failed to be influenced by all the wonderful novels I’d read. Jane Eyre because it is such a wonderful example of a passionate first person narrator and it made me think about how to create a heroine rather than a woman character. It’s also a fabulous example of the importance of setting in a novel.
George Eliot. In its scope, ambition and accomplishment Middlemarch is one of the great novels. I don’t think Eliot would be a particularly easy person to have coffee with – I can imagine awkward silences and then rather long rants – but I do think she’d have something interesting to say about almost everything.
3.What books are currently on your bedside table?
Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, Alan Shapiro’s wonderful debut novel Broadway Baby, Eleanor Henderson’s Ten Thousand Saints - another debut novel that recreates the 80s with amazing vividness, and Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal which is set in an all girls school and is so beautifully and intelligently written.
From Lisa Christie: While we often do not have the chance to read the latest work by an author before their visits to the Norwich Bookstore, I was able to read Ms. Livesey’s The Flight of Gemma Hardy in time for this “Three Questions” post. Set in Scotland and then Iceland in the 1960s, this book provides an homage to Jane Eyre, while still remaining its own novel. As a huge fan of both Scotland and Iceland, I truly enjoyed the sense of place she created — I could feel the wind of the moors and the sea and … Basically, this novel is a just a fun read – think of it as a beach read for March, and I think fans of Jane Eyre will be especially intrigued, or maybe annoyed or… So please join the two Lisas of The Book Jam in Norwich on Wednesday, March 14th at 7 pm for Ms. Livesey’s reading and discussion at the Norwich Bookstore. But, call 802-649-1114 soon to reserve your seat because, as always, seating is limited.