Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — Francine Prose

Prose writes prose

Francine Prose

Francine Prose

When a writer like Francine Prose comes along, you might just ask yourself, “What the heck did I learn in school?” In her recently released title, “Reading Like A Writer”, Prose probes the mind to re-teach the art of writing and reading – Prose and prose go quite well together. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on Prose writes prose

Francine Prose: One in a Million

When I walked out of the elevator of the seventh floor of the William and Anita Newman Library Building, I saw posters and flyers telling all that Francine Prose was amongst us.  To be honest, at first I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of having such an accomplished writer at Baruch willing to talk to Macaulay Honors Students about her life’s work.  I soon realized this was a privilege not just a mandatory part of my Arts in New York City course.  Professor Roslyn Bernstein and the rest of the esteemed Baruch College staff had nothing but praises regarding Francine Prose and the novels she wrote, including the book my fellow classmates and I recently read, Reading Like a Writer. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose: One in a Million

Francine Prose?

I never finish reading Reading like a writer, by Francine Prose. Even with all the accolades her books have received throughout her career, I took her novel lightly. It was one of those books that I would keep in my aged shelf under the dust, but I knew it would enhance my writing style and be an inspirational source of writing. But after attending “A Reading and Conversation with Francine Prose”, I found myself absorbed into the content of the book. “I want to be like Francine Prose,” I thought to myself while reading the book on the ride home. The event not only changed my perception of Francine Prose but also my understanding of good writing. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose?

Francine Prose: A Writer’s Perspective

The reading by Francine Prose was very beneficial for an aspiring writer like myself. She read her own short story and provided enlightening comments. Her relaxed demeanor struck me as she discussed the arduous task of writing a novel. I was also interested in the calm demeanor with which she read her work.  I tried to take cues from her poise as she spoke her own short story aloud because she seamlessly told the story and made me feel as though I was reading the work instead of simply listening to it. It seems to me that being able to do that is harder than it looks because you have to use your voice to transport the reader, rather than trusting the written text to do it for you. [Read more →]

December 9, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose: A Writer’s Perspective

Francine Prose

Francine Prose

Francine Prose has enjoyed a long and accomplished career as an author of unique novels and short stories for adults and also for children. She writes fiction that blends elements of reality with elements of the fantasy. She is the current Sidney Harman Writer-in–Residence at Baruch College. She wrote over 15 books of fiction and many non-fiction books, including the most recent Reading Like a Writer. [Read more →]

December 6, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose

Francine Prose

Francine Prose as a writer is an exact one.  She makes every word count and tells us to do he same.  As a speaker she is sure of her words and herself, not giving a speech, more having a conversation.  Her humor holds a key to her being: dry, well placed comments that could be mistaken for passing thoughts if not for her perfect sense of timing. [Read more →]

December 2, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose

Falling In Love With Prose!

            “She was so beautiful and doomed and she had a death wish” no, this is not Francine Prose but Myra, an insane character from “Hansel and Gretel”; one of her short stories from the collection “The Peaceable Kingdom”. The real Francine Prose held the audience captive during the reading with her soft, deep intonations. Her hair curtained her face as she drew it back occasionally to reveal the intelligence and wit written not only in her story but also on her face. She peered up to regard the audience that was intentionally shocked into attention by the image of Hecuba and her cat.

                During the talkback, Prose stated she started writing stories as an indirect result of the unruly children she had to babysit as a child. Her face drew back in a smile when she recalled she “did a lot of ghost stories” to entertain the children. Her use of logic and sense of humor led her to discover that if they were scared they might be less restless. Many of her ideas for novels including “Hansel and Gretel” came from personal experience. Prose explained, “As a child I was a huge reader”. She readily cited the highly relevant Hans Christian Andersen and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Her influences were a revelation. Hans Christen Andersen’s tales even though irreverent, sometimes have dark undertones just like her work. Alcott’s novel is an almost biographical account of a female writer who falls into “vortexes” and “writing fits” and supports herself with them. Francine Prose’s character is such that she remembers staying up all night to start a novel. Initially to her writing was not so much about the freedom of expression but also her livelihood. She admitted she could not “imagine doing anything else” and “just didn’t have a chance for writer’s block”. Her approach to her profession is not only realistic it is admirable

 Her independence is admirable and her spirit shows in her book “Reading Like A Writer”. Prose emphasizes the importance of reading not just for plot but also for the originality of the writer. In opposition to the nature of a short story, a novel focuses more on the character development.  To Francine Prose writing is a novel is “scarier” because there is a chance that it might not go anywhere”. When questioned about her writing methods,” I just write on sentence after another” Her approach at writing maybe considered unorthodox. Yet when she writes, every word is deliberate, and every thought is concise, even at times humorous, just like her. 

November 14, 2008   4 Comments

Francine Prose

            After a grueling five week long tour promoting her new book “Goldengrove” it is understandable that Ms. Francine Prose would want to take a break and do a reading of another one of her pieces. The short story that Ms. Prose read, entitled “Hansel and Gretel” is very amusing and fantastical story. The main character, Polly, is in a very bizarre situation, to say the least. It is surprising that it was actually based on a situation that the author was in. The title and the beginning of the story do not seem to match. It is not until later that the audience understands the connection to the children’s story of “Hansel and Gretel”. [Read more →]

November 13, 2008   Comments Off on Francine Prose

Francine Prose

Who is Francine Prose? This was the question that many people hoped would be answered when the president of the PEN American Center came to Baruch College. Although many of the attendees already knew of this distinguished author and read several of her books, and others were just curious to see what this event had to offer, everyone wanted to hear what Prose had to say. During a short reception before the actual reading, Prose spoke personally to whoever had the guts to approach her, and later answered questions from the guests. Listening to Prose speak, and hearing what others had to say about her, it is safe to say that she is a devoted and brilliant writer, as well as an open-minded and easy-going person with a great sense of humor. [Read more →]

November 12, 2008   1 Comment

Up Close and Personal with Francine Prose            On October 21st, acclaimed author and the current Sidney Harman Writer-In-Residence, Francine Prose came to Baruch College and shared a reading of one of her short stories, “Hansel and Gretel.” Although we expected to hear an excerpt from her newest novel Goldengrove, Prose wanted to read something different, after all there’s “only so much you can read on a book tour.” Afterwards there was a Q&A where Prose provided great insight into her personality and style of writing.
            In her book Reading Like a Writer, a New York Times best seller, Francine Prose writes that “a workshop can be useful, a good teacher can show you how to edit your work…but writers learn by reading the work of their predecessors” (2). Her extensive knowledge and understanding of effective language is clear as she devotes each chapter to a specific aspect of writing, “Chapter 1: Close Reading, Chapter Two: Words…” The very skills she wrote about were apparent in her descriptive and unique characters, as we learned about Lucia who “doesn’t believe in seatbelts – [a] fascist plot,” Polly’s “strange, blond, handsome” husband, Nelson, and Lucia’s gorgeous yet “doomed” daughter, Marianna.

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November 12, 2008   Comments Off on Up Close and Personal with Francine Prose