Karen Russell’s “Cosmic Strangeness”
January 30, 2015, by Doni Wilson
I drive into the concrete city, heading down Louisiana until I hit Texas Avenue. It is only six. I am early for a reading at the Wortham Center that won’t start until seven-thirty. I am meeting friends nearby. Plus, I have secret ambitions for parallel parking. It never ends up happening, but I can imagine it.
As I am looking for a space, I see Rich Levy, executive director of Inprint, walking with Karen Russell, the author of Swamplandia, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. I know who she is because I have been handing out slick advertisements with her picture on them to my students all week. I tell them there is nothing like hearing an author read her own work.
It is not too cold, but she has on black boots and a coat anyway. She is from Florida. She and Rich are walking and laughing. She looks so young to me! I think of how famous this writer has become, and what that must feel like. The brochures have told me that “Russell was the youngest of the 2013 MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ fellowship recipients, and she has been included in The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35, and Granta’s Best Young American Novelists.” As I see her walking and laughing, I think what a big deal she is, but she isn’t acting like it. Continue reading