Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brooklyn's Indie Lit Impresarios!

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Page 8 of 10


Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore

Why are you doing this?

J: For the joy it brings. Because my dreams were a good fit for the place and the people. Because at some point I was lucky enough to realize what I wanted to do with my life.

R: When I was young I watched my dad, who is fortunate enough to have found a career path that enables him to get paid to do something he loves, and I aspired to do the same. I love what I do and am passionate about it. Or, to put it in more scary (to me) terms: If I weren't doing this, I have no idea what I would be doing.

Is there something particular to Brooklyn Lit beyond geography?

J: This is a massive generalization, but creativity follows cheap rent, and culture follows creativity. Brooklyn has been a cultural incubator, and now everything that has grown here is bursting out.

R: Manhattan has long been thought of as the literary capital, but to channel Mark Helprin for a minute, 'beautiful womanly Brooklyn' feels like it's slowly taking the crown from 'her rich Uncle Manhattan'.

Who's your favorite writer we've never heard of?

J: Joan Silber. She was a finalist for the National Book Award and remains perhaps the most underrated writer in America. Her novels/short story cycles are the art that's closest to life I've ever encountered.

R: It's a back-handed compliment to say someone is 'a favorite you've never heard of'! I don't want to offend anyone by implying they aren't known. That said... Chris Adrian? He's literary, thoughtful, and has a writing career worth watching.

Do you also write yourself?

J: Blog posts, the occasional review. I used to write more poetry before I got so happy. It was a relief at some point to realize that I didn't have to write books just because I love books.

R: I think that some people are writers and some people are readers. I am a reader. It makes me happy to suss out books that I love, and to find books that I think other people will love.

What's your day job?

J: Greenlight co-owner, events coordinator, publicity manager, webmaster.

R: I am the co-owner and buyer for Greenlight Bookstore.

What impact do you think Brooklyn Lit has had on the publishing world at large?

J: I think it's been good for the publishing world to experience the fact that there's cultural life outside of Manhattan—it's energizing and inspiring.

R: Half of publishing and oh so many authors live here. There's something awesome to be said for creative critical mass.

What does the future look like for Brooklyn Lit?

J: I think we're past the initial explosion of growth and beginning to establish institutions and traditions. That's a good place to be.

R: Strong.

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About The Author

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen is the Managing Editor at Brooklyn Magazine and the L Magazine. She has been described as "a hipster buzzword made flesh." This seems pretty accurate.

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