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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Putting readers 'into the conversation'

I'm trying to make the readers feel as if he or she is right there in the conversation, and so I don't try to manipulate it too much. – Susan Straight

Born on this date in 1960, Straight is a National Book Award finalist for her novel Highwire Moon, one of her 7 adult novels.  She’s also done a novel for young readers, and a children's book, and has written essays and articles for numerous national publications.  Among the recipients of her work are The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and Harper's Magazine.  A frequent contributor to NPR and Salon.com, her short story writing also has earned numerous accolades. The 2003 story "Mines” was included in Best American Short Stories, and 2008’s “The Golden Gopher” earned her the Edgar Allen Poe Award.
A native of Riverside, Calif., Straight earned a writing              
 degree from Southern Cal, then traveled East to earn her MFA from U. Mass-Amherst.  Returning to California, she co-founded the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Writing for Performing Arts program at University of California, Riverside in the mid-1980s. 

Besides her ongoing writing career, she serves as Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the graduate program at that school.

Her advice to new writers?  “The best thing I could say is you do have to be a really good listener. If I go to a family reunion, and there's 400 people there, everybody comes up and tells me their stories, right? And I think that when you're a good listener, and you can imagine how someone's talking, dialogue is your key friend, is it not?”

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