by Albora Memushi
contributor to the Underground
On Thursday, October 13th, in Room 115 of the Richardson Library, students and professors prepared to begin A Celebration of the Short Story. Cupcakes, fruits, and sodas were displayed to the right of the room. As some ate a quick bite, others mingled with writers Christine Sneed and Kristin FitzPatrick or discussed the events of their day. The seats filled quickly, and some individuals had to stand up along the wall. The writers took their seats and the event began promptly at six in the evening.
The moderator gave a quick welcome and introduced both authors.
Christine Sneed teaches creative writing for the MFA programs at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. The Virginity of Famous Men is her fourth book. Other books include Little Known Facts, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, and Paris, He Said.
Kristin FitzPatrick is a DePaul alum and teaches at DePaul’s School for New Learning. Her debut book, My Pulse Is An Earthquake, is a collection of short stories that was published in 2015. Kristin was primarily a film student at DePaul, prior to switching her major to English.
FitzPatrick read “A New Kukla” from My Pulse Is An Earthquake. After a round of applause, Sneed introduced her new story collection The Virginity of Famous Men and read “Roger Weber Would Like To Stay.”
Another round of applause followed and the moderator invited the audience to ask their questions.
When asked about the ways teaching informs their writing, Sneed jumped in with a smile: “Teaching has made me a better writer.” FitzPatrick said, “Teaching and writing complement each other for me. I see myself as a student in my own class.”
Among other things, Sneed and FitzPatrick discussed the different ways their writing is influenced by film and Hollywood. Said Sneed, “Having unmediated experiences is often hard to come by. Having a chance to write fiction, or nonfiction or a poem, you enter a part of your brain that is informed by fantasies.”
Being an English major, I adored this event. I always look forward to such events to learn and explore the different possibilities that are available for English majors. Within an hour we were introduced to two new wonderful books and we learned some of the ins and outs of being a writer.
Kristin FitzPatrick and Christine Sneed were most kind as they shared their own experiences in the publishing world with the audience and joyfully gave us advice on how to be persistent in creating our paths as writers.