“The thing that makes vivid writing is when the reader is in the body of the story, the body of the character. Things smell like something; there's weather, there's texture, there's light.” –Janet Fitch
Born on this date in 1955, Fitch is the author of the international bestseller White Oleander, also a 2002 film by the same name. A native of Los Angeles (3rd generation), she said she grew up in a family of voracious readers but planned to become a historian, not a writer, when she attended Reed College in Oregon. But on her 21st birthday she said she had a revelation that she should, instead, write fiction. And so she did.
Now a professor of fiction writing at Southern Cal, where she has taught for 14 years, she also has written numerous short stories, essays, articles, and reviews, contributed to anthologies and regularly teaches at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her most recent book is Paint It Black, also made into a feature film.
Fitch’s advice for beginning writers is simple: “I always read poetry before I write,” she said, “to sensitize me to the rhythms and music of language.”
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