Photo credit: Shoot for the Moon!
Thanks to the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series, Butler students were treated to a discussion, reading, and Q & A with New York Times best-selling writer, Lev Grossman. Before reading a selection from The Magician King, the fantasy writer spent a large amount of time during his public reading discussing literary fantasy, and how he found his voice in the genre. He talked about ideas and inspiration and explained many of his choices in his popular series, The Magicians.
“I always planned on being a literary novelist,” Grossman said. “The Magicians began as thought experiment…. I wanted to see how Hemmingway or Virgina Woolf would describe magic.” Grossman focused on using all five senses to explain magic. He made his hero not such a good guy and his mission unclear.
In the student Q & A the day following his reading, Grossman answered many difficult questions about the unlikable narrator and his many flaws. Grossman admitted it was intentional to create a more real life hero. “I wanted wizards to feel as lost as I did.” Grossman wrote the Magicians while battling depression. “I’d lie in bed, look out the window at all the normal people, and think, ‘Wow. They are magicians.'”
After his reading, Grossman went to the nearby dive bar, the Red Key, where it was rumored Kurt Vonnegut often wrote. Later, it was discovered that was a wild fantasy, and Vonnegut never went there. But now Lev Grossman has!