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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Shaping images with words

“Writing the past is never a neutral act. Writing always asks the past to justify itself, to give its reasons... provided we can live with the reasons. What we want is a narrative, not a log; a tale, not a trial. This is why most people write memoirs using the conventions not of history, but of fiction.” – Andre Aciman

An award-winning memoirist, Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on this date in 1951.  A naturalized American citizen, he also is author of numerous essays, short stories and novels.  His book Call Me By Your Name, winner of the 2007 Lambda Literary Award, is currently in theaters as a highly acclaimed film and considered a contender for an Academy Award.   His 1995 memoir, Out of Egypt, won the Whiting Award.

Aciman is distinguished professor at the Graduate Center of City University of New York, where he teaches the history of literary theory and the works of Marcel Proust.    The multi-lingual Aciman previously taught creative writing at New York University and French literature at both Princeton and Bard College.    
                                   “What great writers have done to cities is not to tell us what happens in them, but to remember what they think happened or, indeed, might have happened,” he said about how writers help shape images of places.   “And so Dickens reinvented London, Joyce, Dublin, and so on.”

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