Monday, July 6, 2015

Brews & Prose Turns 3 with Mary Norris and Paula McLain

Photo by Josef Astor
Author Mary Norris has a deep appreciation for the tools of her trade. "The part I enjoyed most was writing about pencils," says Norris, referring to a chapter that recounts a beloved visit to Ohio's Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum in her new book, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. Currently a query proofreader for The New Yorker with decades of experience, the Cleveland native returns Tuesday, July 7 for the third anniversary of Brews & Prose at 7 p.m. at Market Garden Brewery. Norris will read excerpts from her first book, Comma Queen, which combines grammar expertise with quirky tales from the halls of The New Yorker. Norris is joined by The Paris Wife author Paula McLain, a local who is releasing Circling the Sun at the end of this month, at the reading series we named Best of Cleveland in 2013. We chat with Norris about her authorial debut and what's on tap for her return to Cleveland.

Q: What was it like writing your first book?
A: What made the book difficult was that I did not at first understand that the proposal for the book was not the blueprint for the book. ... And so I wrote a lot about The New Yorker thinking that's what the publisher wanted, what the editor wanted. And in fact, he wanted something that was broader than The New Yorker audience for the book. So he kept having to tell me to broaden it out, and I kept having to fall back on the fact that, that was my experience.

Q: How did you handle the different reactions to your book?
A: Certainly for reasons of publicity, any review is a good review. You know I mean if it appears anywhere, then at least it's getting noticed and that's good. So I didn't quibble with anything anybody wrote. And you know, maybe I should have because the people who like this kind of thing love to quibble.

Q: As a Cleveland native coming back to the city, what are you looking forward to about the event?
A: Well, I am looking forward to being on the West Side in a venue that is well-established there and now. I'm very flattered to be on a bill with Paula McLain, whose book I'm reading right now. And, and I like it also that the people who run Brews & Prose are young and they're not like old-school connections of mine. Although I hope a few of my old-school connections will be at the event, I feel like I'm also reaching a new audience in Cleveland — people that I've never met before and who didn't go to high school with me. So that's exciting to me. I'm also looking forward to drinking some of the beer.

1 comment:

High Style said...

Thanks to the staff at this place for making our event so enjoyable and if I ever get married. I know where to go! Great job all of you. Price was not too bad, considering the quality of food and beverages. Everything at SF event venues was excellent.