May 30, 2009

AWRF 2009: Judith Thurman

Robin is Community Librarian at Mt. Albert Community Library, a person of great style both in her apparel and her reading, and perhaps a bit of a perfectionist. Who better than she to report on “An Hour with Judith Thurman"?
Biographer and New Yorker columnist Judith Thurman delivered the Michael King Memorial Lecture. She stood at the lectern and mostly read from her notes, in contrast with the usual Writers and Readers relaxed format of Q and A with an interlocutor. In my experience, biographers feed their audience’s curiosity for the lowdown on their subject, but Thurman vouchsafed not a jot of tittle tattle. Or perhaps she just assumed we had all read her books on Colette and Isak Dinesen, since they were published some time ago. Instead, she spoke about the search to capture the true essence of her subjects, which she said seemed more difficult the more documentation existed. She found Colette particularly elusive.

Very much a perfectionist, Thurman took seven years to research both her biographies, and expressed no plans to tackle another. As an illustration of her perfectionism, she read out each of her seven attempts to get just the right tone for an opening paragraph of an article on tofu that she was commissioned to write for The New Yorker.

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 02:30


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