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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.