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 “3 Questions”. In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the days 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 and read their books.
This post features Helen Peppe author of Pigs Can’t Swim, a writer and photographer’s wry but poignant account of her hardscrabble childhood and adolescence in rural New England. Honest yet humorous in its depiction of family dysfunction, Peppe’s book is a celebration of difference, resilience and the healing power of love.
Ms. Peppe’s photography and written work have received numerous awards and recognition, including placing first in the 2009 Word Worth Essay and Fiction Contest, and The Starving Writer Literary contest twice. She was one of seven finalists for the 2011 Annie Dillard Creative Nonfiction Award, as well as a Maine Literary Awards repeat finalist. Earlier, she focused primarily on writing for equine publications, homeschooling her children, teaching creative writing, and running her husband’s business. In 2009, she earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. She lives with her husband, children, dogs and horses in the Portland area.
Ms. Peppe will appear at the Norwich Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 12th to discuss Pigs Can’t Swim, and her life on a farm in New England. Reservations are recommended. Call 802-649-1114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat.
1) What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens because of his sense of humor, use of irony, and for his compelling characterizations.
- Fire Starter by Stephen King because of his story telling, his pacing, and his gift for entertaining and delighting.
- In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall because of her honesty and love of animals based not for what they can do for her, but on what she can do for them.
Jane Goodall because she decided what she wanted to do and she did it despite naysayers. She is a legend and knows more about human nature than most psychologists through her study of primates. Her temple is the jungle, her love for what lives in the jungle is unshakeable, her determination to protect the jungle, its inhabitants, and all of Earth’s resources is unflagging. Her honesty and generosity inspire me as a writer and animal advocate.
3) What books are currently on your bedside table?
- We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
- Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller
- What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren
- All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot (my husband is reading it out loud to my daughter)
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King (I am reading it out loud to my husband)