June 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
What a fun privilege it was to serve as a judge for the Rudyard Kipling Award for Young Writers, the culminating ceremony for which was held this past weekend at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro. The purpose of the award is to encourage local youngsters to engage with writing and literature, and to celebrate the significant and little-known legacy of Rudyard Kipling in the local area.
And if you get a chance to visit the great writer’s historic home, Naulakha, near the base of Black Mountain in Brattleboro, it’s a magical place and I highly recommend it. The contest winner’s prize included an overnight with her family and friends!
April 21, 2015 § 2 Comments
It was a pleasure to be interviewed recently by the author M.K. Tod for her Inside Historical Fiction series. We had a nice talk about the ingredients that go into the making of great historical fiction, the research process, recent trends in the genre, and more. Here’s an excerpt:
MKT: Are historical novels inherently different from contemporary novels, and if so, in what ways?
TW: There’s a quote that I love from Andrew Miller, writing in The New York Times Book Review a few years ago, about the appeal of distance, and of “the strangeness such distance produces and of the lives lived recognizably in the midst of that strangeness.” He compared historical fiction to science fiction, pointing out that both genres require the writer to depict the only world he or she can possibly know—“the here and now”—in other terms.
To me, this notion captures much of what I love about historical fiction, both in the writing and in the reading: it’s at once a dream we have to enter and an oblique reflection of ourselves. In my experience, this kind of mind-altering immersion is harder to find in contemporary novels—if by “contemporary” we mean novels that are set in times and places very similar to the quotidian spheres in which we tend to live out our lives.
Read the full interview here.
November 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
Really enjoyed my interview with Peter Biello of Vermont Public Radio on Wednesday, November 26, 2014. Peter is an insightful reader and an excellent interviewer; we had a lively and wide-ranging conversation about the genesis of Will Poole’s Island, various aspects of early America, and new perspectives on the Thanksgiving myth. Click here for the podcast and transcript.