Some writers claim to have all the answers. Joseph Kanon isn’t one of those writers. The NYT bestselling author is bringing more questions than answers with him to Columbus when he visits Thurber House Evenings with Authors on Thursday, March 12.
In his career thus far, Kanon has focused on the period shortly following the end of World War II. He explains the period as “an endlessly dramatic” time because of WWII’s significant place in western history.
More than just important or dramatic, Kanon characterizes WWII as “the real hinge of the [twentieth] century.”
Kanon’s newest novel, Leaving Berlin, explores Soviet-occupied East Germany in 1948. “This is a society on its knees, and, consequently, lying is second nature. Survival is everything.” Within this scene, Kanon sees and creates situations of immense moral compromise.
Through the conflicts approached by his characters, Kanon poses difficult moral questions. “Where do you draw your own line? Where do you create your own personal morality?” Kanon finds the questions interesting, but necessarily offers no answers.
While his morally ambiguous writing has stayed within a fairly tight chronological window, Kanon has taken his fiction back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean.
The author recounts a recent visit to Berlin with his wife: “As we were walking along, I said, ‘Oh, this is the flat where Irene would’ve lived,’ and ‘This is the place where so-and-so worked.’”
Kanon’s wife looked to him and responded, “You know a lot of people here: it’s just that you’ve made them up.”
The story exemplifies Kanon’s interest in people within specific settings. “It’s important for me to really place people.” Understanding the places that characters encounter makes them real.
“I find that all of my books, in one way or another, begin with place.” Places that Kanon doesn’t know about are the ones that intrigue him. Places he understands are less interesting: “I live in New York. I have no intention of writing about it. In a sense, I know about it.”
Ellis Paul, who will perform on March 6 with Six String Concerts, knows how to get people to pay for his art.
Over 600 donors crowdfunded his most recent release Chasing Beauty to the tune of over $100,000, echoing the process he’s used for his last two albums.
All this crowdfunding and his interest in working in other media have changed him: “My social life was a lot different in the early days…There’s less drinking, less partying, less canoodling with people I barely know.” Listen in to hear more about Ellis Paul with the Craft spring intern, Tyler C.
NYT bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini, will visit Columbus’s Book Loft on March 9 for a reading and book signing, featuring her latest novel, Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule. This historical fiction re-imagines the relationship between Julia Grant, wife of Union general Ulysses S. Grant, and her slave, Madame Jule. Listen in to discover how Chiaverini created her characters and the odd relationship of US Grant to his in-laws.
Singer-songwriter Irene Kelley has been singing and writing songs since her 1983 debut “Pennsylvania Is My Home.” Her latest album, the all-bluegrass “Pennsylvania Coal” was released in 2014. She’ll be appearing in Columbus with Six String Concerts on February 13.
Our talk ranged from how she writes and co-writes songs to how she got fired from her first singing gig.
From time to time, past Craft guests let me know what their current projects are. In this vein, I suggest that you check out Brad Henry’s latest project: the transfigure8 project, “an advanced technological mobile application… designed specifically for anyone who is interested in learning about transgender and gender non-conforming topics.”
They’re also seeking funding, so consider donating to help the project along. Good luck, Brad.
Victor Dandridge likes pixels. A lot. He has to when his medium involves building 8-bit characters based on old video games. But he has a surprise announcement during our talk about what he’ll be doing this year.
Image of Walter White by Columbus illustrator Dominic LaRiccia
I love reactions and dialogue, so I got some immensely talented folks into a recording studio and played some snippets from past Craft interviews for them to get their take on aspects of creativity. Specifically, Columbus illustrators Dominic LaRiccia and Drew Robinson from Spork Design and Ohio State University Associate Director of University Bands Scott A. Jones discussed quotations from Craft guests Neil Gaiman, Veronica Roth, and Vienna Teng. Wonder what makes someone creative tick? Listen here.