Author gets personal in Highlands Ranch appearance
Jennifer Weiner talks writing, literary chauvinism
Sunday, March 10, 2013 9:34 pm
By: Ryan Boldrey
Jennifer Weiner, best-selling author of “Good in Bed,” “Little Earthquakes,” and “Then Came You,” among others, made a rare public appearance March 7 when she stopped off at the Highlands Ranch Mansion to hang out with 300 of her “closest fans.”
Weiner, who only makes about a half dozen appearances in a year when, as with this stop, she doesn’t have a book out, signed copies of all her works, posed for photos and joked around with fans for a good 45 minutes. She then launched into an hour-long dialogue on what her journey as a writer has been like.
She kept the evening light for the most part, using wit to discuss familial relations – some of which have appeared in guises in her work — and turned it up a notch later when discussing her opinion that female authors get the short end of the literary stick compared to their male counterparts.
“There’s a wide spectrum of acceptable literature,” she said. “There is room for all of us at the table, and there is room for all of us to be treated respectfully.”
Weiner, a Princeton alumna, has had an ongoing, national public debate with current Princeton faculty member Jeffrey Eugenides, who told the New York Times he finds mysteries “unreadable” and that female writers who point out the disparity between the way men’s and women’s books are treated are “bellyaching.”
“Well, what if you’re a Princeton student who wants to write mysteries?” asked Weiner in an interview last month with Colorado Community Media. “My hope would be that the faculty would help you be the best mystery writer you can be, instead of sending the message that it’s a genre without merit.
“It’s all very disappointing. When I was a student at Princeton, I felt supported and encouraged to be the best writer I could be. I wasn’t made to feel that just because I wrote funny stories about women and their families and their jobs and their shopping habits and their love lives, my work was intrinsically less worthy than what my classmates, whose style was more literary and who were writing about suicide and the Holocaust. I’m not sure I’d feel the same way if I was a student there now.”
Weiner ended her trip to Highlands Ranch by taking questions from the almost all-female crowd and encouraged writers in the audience to stay authentic and not to chase trends.
“Readers can smell what is authentic and what is coattail writing,” she said.