Have You Met a Famous Author?

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Have You Met a Famous Author?

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1ahef1963
nov. 2, 2015, 7:20pm

Do tell us about it, if you have. Enquiring minds wish to know.

Also, whom would you really like to meet?

The only author I have ever knowingly met is Pierre Berton, a Canadian writer most famed for his books about the building of our national railroad. The Last Spike was a particular favourite of my parents. I worked at a church as an assistant secretary while I was doing my undergraduate work, and he was coming to speak to a group there. I went to get one of my parents' books autographed. This is long ago....thirty odd years, but what I mostly remember is how tall Mr. Berton was. I'd guess 6'7" or perhaps more. Broad shouldered as well, and massive hands that almost swallowed mine up. I don't remember what he was like, just his size.

I would like to meet Bill Bryson. Would go miles out of my way to meet the man. Hopefully I will get the chance.

2copyedit52
nov. 2, 2015, 7:40pm

I met Henry Miller, though at the time I didn't know it. He was sitting in a blanket in the nether reaches of Golden Gate Park, observing a be-in, and I was a starving hippie. He saw my bedraggled state and with a sweep of his liver-spotted hand invited me to partake of deli food gathered in plastic containers. I fell to my feet and devoured coleslaw and potato and when I was sated thanked him, got up and left. Years later, when I first read him, I recognized him from his photo on The Cosmological Eye. Still later, as a young writer looking for advice on how to get published, I wrote him. He answered in his own hand-writing--perhaps thinking I could make a few bucks by selling it. I still have the note, which advised me that, like any young, struggling writer, you have to use your wiles to get publishers to pay attention. Tricking them, he said, might work.

3lesmel
Editat: nov. 2, 2015, 8:34pm

I met Robyn Carr at ALA in Vegas. She was super sweet & I could have stood there talking to her for 20 minutes w/o ever being interrupted.

That was the same conference I met & spoke with Doyin Richards. I am pretty sure he thought I was a total ditz. I stopped dead in the aisle and yelped "you're the blogger!" *facepalm*

I got to spend about 10 seconds breathing the same air as Tomie dePaola. I was too excited to say anything other than something like "I love Oliver Button is a Sissy!!" I am pretty sure I squealed it at dog whistle range.

The only other author I have read & at least gotten an autograph is Kathy Reichs.

I used to work with Dean James (aka Jimmie Ruth Evans, Miranda James, etc).

Though it is impossible, I would love to meet Julia Child

4Meredy
nov. 2, 2015, 8:53pm

I've met Jane Smiley at a writers' conference, along with many others who weren't quite in the famous category. I once shook hands with Normal Mailer in New York when he was running for office. I knew Jean Auel before she was a famous author. And I've had a book signed by Neil Gaiman when I attended a talk of his at San Jose State. That's about it.

The authors I'd most love to meet are all pretty much dead.

5BruceCoulson
nov. 2, 2015, 11:28pm

George R.R. Martin, when he was directing chess tournaments and writing on the side. I was playing actively in local tournaments, and met him in Indianapolis. (The tournament got banned from the run-down hotel the next year, because the chess players were 'too disruptive'.) He's a pretty good player; better than I ever got, certainly.

6reading_fox
nov. 3, 2015, 5:08am

Alistair reynolds came to talk at a science in science fiction day that my university hosted. Was very cool.

7mysterymax
Editat: nov. 3, 2015, 6:59am

I have met several, but the first one was many years ago when my husband introduced me to Robertson Davies. I had just finished The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks which, to this day, remains my favorite book of his.

8Cecrow
nov. 3, 2015, 8:04am

Not a one, only lesser authors who seemed convinced one and all that they were more famous than they really were. Humility does not generally seem like a virtue in this crowd.

W.O. Mitchell came to speak at our high school, and we all assembled to listen to him. I'm sorry to say we were an unruly bunch by the end. I've interacted with an author or two online (email, discussion forums), but that hardly counts. A friend of mine published her YA novel after her manuscript won a contest, but she didn't achieve a great level of sales or fame because of it.

>1 ahef1963:, my grandmother met Pierre Berton. She was 100% convinced he wrote the book that's credited to his mom, I Married the Klondike, not that he told her so. I've read many books by him (most recently his War of 1812 duology), he's listed in my favourite authors.

>7 mysterymax:, another Canadian author!

9Bookmarque
nov. 3, 2015, 8:14am

I've been to a few signings where I met Dennis Lehane, Dan Brown and Sue Miller. Spoke a few words with the former and the latter, but nothing of import. Actually Brown and Lehane gave talks about their books as well and both were good speakers and hired out the same venue.

I'd like to meet Patrick McGrath one day, but probably never will.

10Cliff-Rhu-Rhubarb
Editat: nov. 3, 2015, 1:15pm

I was interviewed for a post-grad course by Fay Weldon. She seemed a nice old duck, but as she didn't let me onto the course, I can only conclude that she doesn't recognise bona fide genius when she sees it.

She then added insult to injury by ignoring my letter asking for some feedback.

Sour grapes and my (putative?) shortcomings aside, she really was a terrible interviewer.

I've met academic and author Richard Wiseman, The World's Most Interesting Man.

I would like to have met Keith Waterhouse just to have thanked him in person for Billy Liar, which as a youth made me cry with laughter. I'd like to meet Neil Peart for reasons that are nothing to do with his books.

I would like to avoid Martin Amis at all costs.

11Cecrow
nov. 4, 2015, 8:37am

I had an Ayn Rand period in university where I became an unshakeable objectivist. Until I daydreamed about "how wonderful" meeting her in real life must have been like, which got me reading some biography. That pretty much undid everything.

12.Monkey.
nov. 4, 2015, 8:56am

I would like to meet waaaaay too many.

Does Wil Wheaton count? He's more -actor famous- than -author famous- but he's an author and he's famous! :P I met him at FedCon a few years ago. He is just as awesome as he appears! I don't think I've met any others.

13laytonwoman3rd
Editat: nov. 6, 2015, 6:42pm

I have met (at book signings) and exchanged a few brief words and smiles with David McCullough, Salmon Rushdie, and Michael Beschloss. All were most gracious. I have met Garrison Keillor twice at public radio affiliate functions; he's incredibly shy and not much of a conversationalist. At a Kerry/Edwards rally during the 2004 presidential campaign, I heard a distinctly Irish voice behind me in the crowd, and turned to find myself face-to-face with a most congenial Malachy McCourt, who cheerily signed my admission ticket. For years Jason Miller had an apartment directly across the street from where I work, and it was very common to run into him in the drugstore on the street level of my building, or just walking around town.

On the list of not-so-famous-but-oughta-be authors, I went to grade school with Clara Gillow Clark, who writes wonderful historical fiction for young readers, and her sister Lela Gillow Buchanan. They remain friends. My husband's cousin Don Freas is a fine poet (and a really groovy guy) whose work I love. Two professors from my alma mater, Lycoming College, are worthy of note: G. W. Hawkes (read Semaphore; it's amazing); and Sascha Feinstein (poetry and jazz history). Although I pre-dated them by decades at the school, I did have the opportunity to meet and interact with both of them occasionally while my daughter Laura Koonswas a student there, mentored by Hawkes. I promote their work gently around here whenever the chance presents itself.

At a book festival a few years ago I met both Howard Norman and Tim Parrish. Norman was a bit stiff, but Parrish was as ordinary and chummy as you could want. We had a long conversation about New Orleans post-Katrina.

Although these aren't "meetings", I have boldly contacted a number of authors through their website e-mails asking for photos to add to their author pages here on LT; the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. Some were from publicists or agents, but a few (Jon Clinch stands out) were clearly personal, and went beyond just "here's the photo; thanks"). My stats say I've contributed 26 author pictures to the site. I won't remember who they all were, but in addition to Clinch, Clark, Buchanan and Feinstein, Suzanne Fisher Staples, Castle Freeman, Jr., Cassie Dandridge Selleck, Fania Oz-Salzberger, Cynthia Riggs, and Murr Brewster all responded personally with photos. I took the author photos of G. W. Hawkes, Virginia Shank, Laura Koons, Holly Wendt and Don Freas all of whom are personally known to me (that one, of course, being VERY closely related and there's not a thing she can do about it!).

Who would I most like to meet? Well, unfortunately it's no longer possible, but I think I really would have enjoyed Robert B. Parker's company.

14Limelite
nov. 4, 2015, 1:48pm

>9 Bookmarque:

Attended the same grad writing program as Lehane. We shared a couple of classes and I realized he had much more raw talent than the rest of us.

Because I volunteered so many years at the Miami Book Fair International, I got to meet, greet, and party with lots of writers. If I named them off, it would be an embarrassment of riches and no one would believe me, anyhow.

Let's just say they ranged from George Plimpton, to Tama Janowitz, and a lot more better than that. I fell in love with Richard Ford when we spent a part of a lunch hour chatting away with Alan Cheuse. And once, I got a chance to share a few words with the very old (she was over 100 at the time) and very famous Goddess of the Everglades, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. Here on the website, I'm friended by Sara Alexi, but that's just because I had read several of her books before joining, and I guess she her agent discovered my fondness for the Greek Village Series.

Lots of writers live in SoFla, some of them my friends. If you read Miami noir fiction, those would be them. I've lived in the Piedmont of North Georgia since September '14 after having resided in Miami over 30 years. One could hardly avoid writers. It was heaven on Earth.

15lilithcat
nov. 4, 2015, 3:29pm

Quite a few. One of the perks of living in a big city is that author reading are many. Of course, the fact that I also live in a university community adds to the sightings! And I went to a college that nurtured slews of well-known authors, some of whom were in my class, including Ntozake Shange.

Rosellen Brown is a neighbor, as well as a fellow alum (though she graduated some years earlier than I), and I've met Mary Gordon at alumnae events also. Another neighbor is Sara Paretsky, and I've been to a number of readings she has done locally over the years. Lily Koppel is another alum, though not a neighbor, whom I met when she came to town.

But author readings! Just a few of the people I've met:

Tony Kushner (absolute favorite - he was delightful)
Audrey Niffenegger (I also met her numerous times at the Center for Book and Paper Arts.)
Carlos Ruiz Zafón - I mentioned to him some musical references in one of his books, so when he autographed it for me, he added a treble clef sign!
Judith Martin (a/k/a Miss Manners) at a reading for a book not about etiquette, but about a favorite city of both of ours, Venice
Allan Hollinghurst, who so impressed me with his graciousness when only a few people showed up for his reading, even though he had just won the Man Booker Prize. It was on the south side the night the White Sox clinched the World Series.
And tons more

16Esta1923
nov. 6, 2015, 3:44pm

I brag about not only meeting Ivan Doig but developing a lovely relationship that included having dinner together, and sitting with his wife when she came on tour with him.

17laytonwoman3rd
nov. 6, 2015, 6:45pm

>16 Esta1923: Aww...Ivan Doig...that must have been a treat!

18TheGingerDetective
nov. 6, 2015, 6:51pm

I've met Melvyn Bragg at Waterstone's in Nottingham while he was there promoting one of his books so I got a signed copy. I really like him, and he's very good on the radio as well.

19TheGingerDetective
nov. 6, 2015, 6:54pm

I've also met Douglas Forrest, one of Shetland's own local authors. He wrote the book Jimmy Wilds: The Soldier Who Elected a Government. I can highly recommend this book. Doug is a wonderfully entertaining writer.

20dianeham
Editat: nov. 8, 2015, 5:28am

A million years ago - in the 70s - I met John Barth. He seemed very shy and humble. And surprised that I had read all his books and stories up to that point.

I was at a reception for Studs Terkel at a professor's house and Studs was surrounded by people. He liked to drink whiskey so I made sure his drink kept getting refilled. After the crowd left, he talked to me. He was interested in what he found out about me and came to my apartment the next day to interview me. I didn't make the cut for his book - the book after Working. He interviewed Maggie Kuhn that same day. I think she made the cut.

I ran into Spaulding Gray on the street in NYC. We talked briefly and parted ways. That was in 1986.

I heard Connie Willis speak at a librarian's conference (around 1995) and my boss and I spoke to her afterwards. I hadn't read any of her books at that point but I have since then and like her writing very much.

21SomeGuyInVirginia
nov. 10, 2015, 10:32am

I met Alan Ayckbourn at a party in DC when he was in town for a new play. I'd heard he was there and said I really wanted to meet him. When I was completely distracted someone at my side said '...and this is Alan' and I turned and there he was- paunchy, cottony white hair, dressed in a fisherman's sweater and not looking anything like I'd imagined. It was out of my mouth before I could catch myself, 'You're Alan Ayckbourn?!' He said he was and then started to giggle. I liked him immensely then.

22hardlyhardy
nov. 14, 2015, 2:57pm

Walter Tevis, author of The Hustler and The Man Who Fell to Earth, taught one of my creative writing classes back in the 1960s. I once watched him playing pool. He was no Fast Eddie, but he was a nice, rather shy man.

I have spoken with a number of authors at book signings, including Jess Walter, Carla Buckley and Mark Winegardner. I have letters from a few writers, most notably Michael Shaara and William F. Buckley Jr..

The one author I can count as a friend is Dandi Mackall, the children's writer.

I have heard Ann Patchett and Laura Lippman each speak more than once but have never actually spoken with either. It would be a pleasure to know them both.

23laytonwoman3rd
nov. 14, 2015, 7:14pm

>22 hardlyhardy: That reminds me that I have a copy of The Hustler around here somewhere, and keep meaning to read it.

24Christofora
feb. 14, 2016, 10:31am

Marshall Karp A brilliant mind! What an incredible writer and family man. Blends into the community, and a very generous soul. I am lucky to have crossed paths with him on many occasions. He writes for James Patterson, NYPD Red series. But has his own great books too. Lomax and Biggs mystery series. he just released his newest book, Terminal. I cant wait to get it.