A couple of months ago, we were sitting with friends around our dining room table discussing the one thing that might seem the most out of character with our particular personality. My contribution to the conversation was that, despite being introverted, I have chosen three pursuits—acting, broadcasting, and writing—that have all put me “out there” in one way or another. Do we set unconscious challenges for ourselves, I wonder?

The Ivy Bookshop stage, Baltimore Book Festival, 2019
The Ivy Bookshop stage at the Baltimore Book Festival

I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve taken Old New Worlds on the road, post publication. Writing—like broadcasting—is a rather solitary pursuit. Even though you are subliminally aware of an audience, you’re essentially sitting alone in a room while you’re beavering away, so it almost comes as a little shock to realize that there are readers and listeners on the receiving end. But, rather than being daunting, it has been wondrous to be interacting with the interested and generous and engaged and inspiring book community—whether I was in conversation at the Baltimore Book Festival with writer, Eric D. Goodman; or part of a panel with Christina Chiu and Melanie Hatter, moderated by my former MFA writing professor, Marion Winik; or unpacking the issues of evangelism with a priest and a bishop at St. David’s church; or, at Busboys and Poets in Washington, meeting a group of young women who want to explore writing creative nonfiction. 

If you have been part of any of these events—thank you! And, if you have acquired a copy of Old New Worlds, would you consider giving it a (frank!) review on Amazon? My marketing sage, Ben Tanzer—who is also a creative strategist, podcaster, writer, and teacher—tells me that reviews and stars make a big difference to a book’s livelihood in some mysterious way. 

If you haven’t yet made it to an Old New Worlds event, I would love to see you over the winter … and into the spring. Here is a link to my “Appearances” page, and these are the headlines: 

Wednesday, December 11 at 6:30 PM
The Studio: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

Thursday, January 16 at 6:30 PM
The Johns Hopkins Club Book Circle 

Sunday, January 19 from 4 – 6 PM 
Lit & Art at Bird In Hand 

Wednesday, January 29 at 11 AM
Mount Vernon Club author event

Thursday, April 2 from 7:30 – 9:30 PM
Buunni Coffee Multiverse Reading Series in New York

Spring 2020
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Panelist: Suffragette Centennial Celebrations

The online and print media have also been so kind to Old New Worlds since my last Ides of October newsletter. I am grateful to:

Past Ten for inviting me to think about “Where were you on this day ten years ago?” — October 16, 2009

Two of my MFA alums—editor, Andrew Keating, and reviewer CarlaJean Valluzzi—for giving me some love in Cobalt Review

Lauren LaRocca for her thoughtful review and Q&A in the December issue of Baltimore Magazine Baltimore Magazine Q&A and Baltimore Magazine review

Finally, for this Winter Newsletter, I wanted to let you in on another piece of news that I’ve been sitting on so as not to jinx it. One of the South African novels that has resonated strongly with me is A Chain of Voices—André Brink’s searing account of a failed uprising in South Africa’s Western Cape shortly before the abolition of slavery—ever since I saw a riveting dramatization of it at the arts festival in (then) Grahamstown. I spoke to André about the possibility of adapting it for radio, but my immigration took over before I could begin the project. It stayed with me, though, and instead I turned it into a screenplay some years ago. Now, after much back and forth with the literary agency in Zürich that handles the Brink estate, I have signed an option agreement to produce the screenplay, contingent on whether Director, Roy Zetisky, Producer, Tamara Semevsky, and I can get the financial backing for it. Even as we speak, location recces are being planned, casting options are being considered … and I must go off now to write a treatment. 
Until next time, I wish you a wonderful holiday season, with many thanks for your support.

Judith

Pin It on Pinterest