Personally, I haven't. :(
However, I think it is a good thing because I am highly impressionable and if I meet Antonia Fraser or Nancy Mittford in person I will seriously pass out.
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I just did, actually, by chance, about three weeks ago in the tiny town of Jemez Springs, New Mexico. While I was in the public library using their internet, Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me, Ultima walked in and dropped a book off. It seems he owns a summer residence there. It was a very short conversation, I just thanked him for his writing and told him we read his book in my Ethnic Studies class. Not much reaction, as I think I took him off guard, but it was still a very cool experience.
When I was in college, I had the opportunity to meet Madeleine L'Engle. It was a wonderful experience, and I found her delightful in every way. She spoke to a larger group, and I enjoyed her presentation, of course. What I remember most, though, was sitting in a smaller conference room with her, just my fellow English majors and professors and I (it was a small college), and talking with her about all manner of things. Loved her books, loved her ideas, loved her. Still do.
Actually, I've been lucky enough to meet two well-known authors. I had a chance to meet one of my favorites when he spoke at the University of Florida back in the 1970s: The late, great Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. He was intimidating, to say the least. On a different occasion, while waiting for a flight at the airport on St. Thomas, USVI, I noticed George Plimpton reading a newspaper. He, too, was waiting for a flight back to the U.S., so I introduced myself, and we spoke for a few minutes.
I have met Edward Albee. His lecture at the University of Tennessee was truly enlightening, and I was able to shake his hand. I also met one of my heroes: Cleanthe Brooks. More a critic than an author, Brooks made me appreciate Faulkner. I also met John Updike at Agnes Scott College, truly a charming man very much unlike his dark books. I became a fan immediately and have since read almost all of his works.
Another author that I spent some time with is Margaret Edson, the author of WIT. She agreed to speak to my class of students, but we had to meet her at her school in her kindergarten class. What a wonderful experience that was. Here were I and my high school seniors squeezing in these little people's desks and totally rapt in Edson's stories. We learned about her inspiration for writing WIT--a wonderful play that goes very nicely with a John Donne unit--her struggles as a writer and about her as a person. We left with renewed inspiration and the feeling that we had interacted with an extraordinary individual.
I met Sister Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking", when I was in college. She spoke at a convocation and had a book signing. She was very interesting...I had seen the movie but I didn't realize that it was based on a true story. It was an awesome, life changing experience.
LOVE THIS TOPIC!!! I met a guy named Chris Crutcher. He lives near me in Idaho and I love some of his works intended for young adults. He has written Crazy Horse Electric Game, Whale Talk, and King of the Mild Frontier. I bought a bunch of books that day and had them signed. Fortunately and unfortunately, they have since walked out of my classroom and I am excited to go to another book talk and load up on some high interest reading for my students!
Not too sure if I want to share this but being a closet fantasy fan I once met Robert Jordan, the author of The Wheel of Time series, which I really enjoy. He was as amazing and inspiring as I ever imagined him to be. I also met Arundhati Roy once, author of The God of Small Things, which is another of my favourites. She was equally as impressive - defiant in her pursuit of justice and truth. I would like to meet David Mitchell and Barbara Kingsolver, but we will see!
I did meet several wonderful children's authors all in two days. A small, independent bookstore owner in Albany, NY ran excellent program each year. He would bring in close to 50 accomplished children's & young adult's authors. Over the conference they would run seminars on writing and on their own lives, sign books, and mingle with each other & conference attendees. Most of the audience was made up of teachers or education majors. It was a phenomenal program, but unfortunately the bookstore closed in July 2009, after 48 years, so the owner could enjoy his retirement.
Sherman Alexie is one of the funniest and most engaging personalities I've met. His "readings" are always phenomenal because he doesn't "read," he actually performs his stories from memory. Even in one-on-one situations he's incredibly insightful and generous and one of the most encouraging people I've ever met.
I attended two readings by Toni Morrison and, on one occasion, I even asked a question in the session that followed. Morrison is very charismatic and can really communicate the passion and tension that I find in her books. She has such a commanding personality and she's a great storyteller. I also enjoyed a talk by Antonio Skàrmeta, the Chilean author of Neruda's Postman. A group of actors staged a mock arrest of the writer at the end of the talk which was on literary freedom.
I have heard Umberto Eco speak a couple of times and was sitting at a table next to his, but he is not one of my favourite writers so I didn't try to talk to him and carried on eating my tagliatelle instead! It was actually St. Valentine's and I remember feeling sorry for the young researchers who had to spend the evening with him rather than with their partners.
David Sedaris is one that anytime I have a chance to see him in NC again, I will make a point to buy tickets or to stand in line and go.
He is exactly what I expected him to be (after reading several of his books and hearing him via NPR and on CD).
I've been lucky to meet several authors, having worked the UCLA Festival of Books many times. Some of my favorites:
- David Sedaris- hilarious, generous, wonderful to speak to
- Christopher Moore- the funniest living writer. Absolutely great!
- Gore Vidal- what can I say? The man is a living legend.
- Victor Villasenor- Actually went to his family ranch the weekend before Thanksgiving. He invites everyone who wants to come for a potluck, and does some readings, signs books, etc. Really incredible experience.
And finally, the biggie: Ray Bradbury! The most inspirational person I've ever heard. You simply feel a love for life when he's in the room. Magical.
Actually, I have to say yes. I have recently published a play on the history of Girl Scouting. It is called "Girl Scouting Through the Ages." It can be perfromed by students in kindergarten through twelfth grade and has a large cast, primarily female. So far I have had several councils from throughout the country purchase them.
I also have another series of books that I am in the process of trying to get published. They were recently endorsed by some key groups and people that should help open the doors to some publishing companies. The series is on the foods of Native Americans. Each book in the series focuses on the food and culture surrounding it for a different tribe or region of the country.
Since I am now an author, I would definitely need to say yes I have met an author that I love. There are much more famous authors that I would enjoy meeting. But I have been firtunate enough to meet Mem Fox, Jerry & Eileen Spinelli, Bill Wallace, Kate DiCamillo, and several others at a children's book conference.
Years ago I was fortunate to find myself at a small dinner party that included Cormac McCarthy--before he was terribly famous. He was somewhat withdrawn, and I was disappointed he didn't join in the conversation. Still, I'm thrilled to be able to say I've met him.
When Robert Penn Warren spoke at Vanderbilt a couple of years before he died, I met him. I witnessed an event I tell my students about when we study All the King's Men: a student in the audience asked Warren the meaning of the Cass Mastern affair, which seems to be a strange chapter in the novel, and Warren replied, "If you don't understand that chapter, then you don't understand the novel." Needless to say, not many more ventured to ask questions after that response.
At a Yeats Conference in Ireland, I met Patrick McCabe, who wrote The Butcher Boy, a book I find both fascinating and repulsive. Robert Olen Bryant (Good Scent from a Strange Mountain) spoke at my school and had dinner with the English Department. He insisted that no one can succeed as a writer unless he or she has experienced pain in his/her life. That comment provoked some discussion! The Nashville Public Library Foundation honors a writer every year; I've met John Irving and Ann Patchett, who has also spoken at my school. I enjoy almost everything these two have written. They are delightful speakers and warm people.
I would love to meet Toni Morrison!
In my former career as a production editor, I met many authors--but I can't say that I particularly "love" any one of them. I was very excited to meet Gloria Gaither after I copy edited her poetry collection. She and her husband have written some of my favorite hymns. When I was in college, I was fortunate to get to meet and shake hands with Eudora Welty. Now, she is an author I love. She gave a reading of one of her short stories and was kind enough to take a few questions afterward. She was very elderly then, but her voice was strong, and the reading was fascinating.
I was lucky enough to meet Ray Bradbury, and he was just a gracious individual. I have met a couple of other Science Fiction writers, such as Anne McCaffrey and Larry Niven. I find sci fi writers to be very open and engaging.
Other writers I have met have been...weird experiences. Rebecca Wells (YaYa Sisters) had day-glo orange hair with a purple streak in it and was pompous and condescending. Needless to say, when she asked for questions, the audience had none for her.
Yes, as a matter of fact I was fortunate enough to meet the famous Dutch novelist Jan Wolkers (Turkish Delight) after a book-signing session at an Amsterdam bookshop. I asked him about the influence of Edgar Allan Poe on his literary style and themes and he was kind enough to take half an hour to discuss this. Contrary to his public image as a semi-obscene maverick, Wolkers proved to be exceptionally erudite, witty and charming. In his last interview before his untimely death, he claimed to have taught the Dutch all about freedom. Other authors I admire rather than love such as Saul Bellow and VS Naipaul turned out to be so full of themselves after their Nobel Prizes that I simply didn't feel like talking to them after their presentations.
Hope this doesn't arrive too late.
In high school our English class was treated to a lecture by Robert Heinlein, the uncle of a (rather attractive) fellow student. I'm usually impressed by his thinking, and he was an intelligent, clear speaker. I was fascinated, with maybe a little hero-worship thrown in.
Since then I've heard a number of authors talk at our local independent bookstore. I'm consistently impressed with their intelligence, their energy, and their ability to speak. Recently I was pretty much blown away by James Ellroy who has a fearsome intelligence, a voice that could shatter walls, and a pretty complete absence of conventional thinking. If you've read him you have encountered much less than the person I heard speak.
I would like to meet several authors, but I have had the opportunity to meet two authors who I greatly admire.
The first author that I met was Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish. I met him at a library fundraiser when I was in college. They were filming the movie based on his novel on our campus and the surrounding area. He was an interesting person to meet. He spoke a great deal about the ideas he had that failed. Some were very comical and I wish I could read some of his rejected pieces.
I also had the opportunity to meet Pat Cunningham Devoto, author of one of my favorite novels, Out of the Night that Covers Me. If you were a fan of To Kill a Mockingbird, then you would probably enjoy this novel. I met her at a conference for teachers where she gave all of the teachers who attended the conference copies of her book to take back to the school. I received 20 copies for the school that I was teaching for at the time. She also discussed the history behind the novel and the connection to events, places, and people in Alabama. She also provided a link to her website, a free teacher’s guide, and her e-mail address so that teachers could e-mail her with information about how they used the novels in class. I e-mailed her pictures of projects that my students completed based on her novel and received a personalized response from her. The students were very excited to read her e-mail.
I have met Rudolfo Anaya twice at conferences I have attended. The second time, I had the opportunity to sit down with him and just talk. He was a fascinating, interesting man who was genuinely interested in what I had to say as well. My only regret was that I didn't have all of his books with me for him to sign, but I was able to get him to sign four of them.
Another author I was tickled to meet was Sherman Alexie. He is as animated in his presentation and discussion as he is in his writing. I was unable to speak with him for any great length, but it was exciting for me all the same.
I have also met Betsy James, but I'm not very fond of her books.
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