Prairie Center: How to Introduce an Author
In just two short weeks, I’ll be introducing several authors at the Interlochen College of Creative Arts annual Writers’ Retreat (still time to sign up, with $50 off for poets and journal/sketchbook-ers!). I’ve introduced fellow writing friends before and spoken in front of audiences without too many palpitations. But introducing authors whose work has been recognized nationally through awards such as a Pushcart Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, or National Book Award is another matter. Likewise, introducing authors who I have never met in person, but whose published works I idolize seems to elevate this task to another level–let’s call it the nervous breakdown level.
|Four years and 20 pounds heavier ago (grad school will do that to you), my friend Kyle gave me the best short ‘n’ sweet introduction I’ve ever been blessed with. We shared our graduate readings together at Pacific University.|
Plenty of people have their opinions about how to introduce an author, including The Millions contributor Janet Potter, who says that “author introduction crimes are rampant.” Her use of the word “crime” is no joke. It can be humiliating to sit in the audience and listen to someone mispronounce your name, stumble over awards credits, or get your home town wrong–humiliating for you and for the introducer and for whoever is picking up the tab. But more than her criticism, Potter’s advice rings true: “A good author introduction shows the author that you’re excited to be a
partner in promoting their work and that you value the role their career
plays on the literary stage, all while being informative and–lord