In her 90s, Tonja Koeppel publishes The Bell File

December 4, 2012, by

Through my work at Inprint, I have been very fortunate, as have many Houstonians, to meet some of the greatest writers of our times—John Updike, Carlos Fuentes, Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Gary Shteyngart, Junot Diaz, the list goes on. My friends often joke about the seemingly glamorous nature of my job. In all honesty, as exciting as it is to meet a writer you have admired for many years, what inspires me the most about my work at Inprint is the opportunity to engage with all the talented local writers I get the chance to meet, writers from all walks of life who share their imaginative fiction and poetry with us while residing in our beloved city.

Earlier this fall, I had the privilege of meeting a fascinating local writer, Tonja Koeppel, who in her 90s, just published her third novel, The Bell File. Genuine, graceful, and very sharp, Tonja came to creative writing later in her life. She began her career by working as a science writer for newspapers and magazines in Switzerland where she was born and grew up. When she came to the United States, she taught chemistry at a university in New Jersey. After she retired, she signed up for a writing course at Rice University which then launched her writing life.  Her other novels include Astral Twin and Secret of Adamant House. The Bell File is her first self-published novel through Amazon.  Continue reading

Writers Gary Shteyngart and Tea Obreht inspire the aspiring

March 28, 2012, by

We talk about a lot of things in writing programs (dead grandmas, childhood traumas, broken hearts of every stripe) but we rarely talk about literary success. We rarely discuss the mechanics of publishing a book, how book deals are made and paid, how to market oneself as an emerging writer, or just the business world of publishing in general—which might be why, when one of us hears of the kind of early success met by Téa Obreht or of the early and then continued success met by Gary Shteyngart, we bristle. I’m about two months away from turning 30, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t partially disappointed that my first book won’t have come out in my twenties, as it did for both Obreht and Shteyngart, and legions of other writers whose youth is a cause célèbre. Continue reading

Books, movies, videos, oh my!

March 21, 2012, by

In the age of YouTube and other video hosting sites, it’s easier than ever to watch movie previews. These previews give you a feel for the film, its cinematography, its characters, and its plot. This idea of video based previews is now seeping into the literary world.

Gary Shteyngart, who is appearing as part of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series on March 26th with Orange Prize winner Téa Obreht, has some of the funniest book promo videos around for his novel Super Sad True Love Story. We had to share them.

This video has James Franco in it, who was a student of Gary’s at Columbia.  Other literary notables featured are Mary Gaitskill, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jay McInerney. It doesn’t tell you what the book is about, but definitely gives you a glimpse into Shteyngart’s wacky sense of humor. Click here to watch the Super Sad True Love Story promo video.  Continue reading