Novelists have the unique ability to take an ordinary event and make it into something else entirely. Tell them your life story and they can rewrite it so you are a hero or a villain, depending on how they feel about you. Life experiences make great backstory for novel sub-plots so if you tell a novelist a deep, personal secret, expect to see a just-barely-recognizable version of it in something she writes later. I have my own secrets, things I don’t want plastered on the pages of some bestselling novel but I would take my chances if I could meet…
- Toni Morrison. I’d probably be tongue tied. I am in awe of her writing genius so I would probably not be able to get a word out so I’d just give her my books to sign.
- Nicola Yoon. I’d like to compare life stories with her because I think we had similar childhood experiences.
- I’d like to meet Nicole Dennis-Benn so we could chat about her recent novel, Here Comes The Sun. I had a pretty strong reaction to the book and I would like to discuss some of her choices, and explain why they irked me.
- I have a list of questions that I want to ask Colson Whitehead and none of them are about The Underground Railroad because I still haven’t read it despite it being on my TBR since last summer. But I did read his book Colossus Of New York earlier this year and enjoyed the way he talked about NYC. Even though I adopted the city over a decade ago, I think he could still divulge some secrets.
- I read and enjoyed Jonathan Safran Foer‘s novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and have another of his books on my shelf to be read soon. For such a young man, I was impressed that he’d published 4 books… until I checked him out on Goodreads and found out that he’s written and/or collaborated on several other books, the latest of which is almost 600 pages long. I am so impressed by his writing repertoire. I just want to ask him, How’d you do that?
- Zadie Smith has always intrigued me. She looks so introverted in her press pics but she writes so boldly. I’d love to find out which persona is really her although I think I already know the answer to that.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, because I feel like Ifemelu’s character in Americanah is based on her life (or mine) and I want to find out how she knew so much of my story, and whether I can get a cut of the book deal.
- I would’ve really liked to have met Gabriel Garcia Marquez because he wrote some of my favorite books, but sadly he’s no longer a part of this world and his words are all we have to remember him by.
- Jamaica Kincaid has always intrigued me and I would love to sit with her for a week and learn all her secrets.
- And I would love to have an appointment with J. K Rowling, because to prepare for our meeting, I would read all the Harry Potter books and all the other novels she’s written both as herself and under her pseudonym (I haven’t read them yet and I need a push to finally do it). But I’d also like to meet her because the story of her persistence and the success she eventually got because she never gave up on her writing dreams, well, they are exactly the inspiration a fledgling writer like myself needs on the dull days when everything gets rejected, it seems.
These are the top 10 authors I’d like to meet and I attend book events because I hope someday, they’ll turn up and I’ll get my chance.
Who’s on your top 10 list?