Katherine Vaz

The problem with books, and literature in general, is that the author can only try to do so much with their writing to evoke an emotion that the rest is left to the reader. However, at a reading, the author is able to take full control of the situation by really putting the plot into perspective. Such was the case at Katherine Vaz’s reading of Our Lady of the Artichokes. We were on campus all day and were told to arrive sharply at 6:30. We decided it would be best to arrive ten minutes early and went on our way. We turn into the hall, facing the auditorium and the room was packed. It became harder to pay attention from the benches outside the room, yet we managed to get a good vantage point.

The first portion of the reading wasn’t actually a reading, as much as an introduction to the topic and some background information on Katherine Vaz. She came on stage and briefly advertised her new book Below the Salt, which focuses on the impact of the Civil War on a young man’s life.

What I liked about this portion was that she described her methods and techniques, which is similar to a behind the scenes peek. She explained how ideas don’t just manifest themselves in her mind, but she actually has to dig for them. It is incredibly painstaking for her to even get started but just as difficult to keep the fluidity going. It made her seem less of a figure and more human.

She went into detail into what really inspires her. Her spark comes from actually feeling something, a feeling that should take you back and appreciate where you have traveled. It was a trend that seemed to appear frequently in her works such as Our Lady of Artichokes and her coming book, Below the Salt.

Credits to Baruch

Credits to Baruch

Unfortunately, I was only able to listen to her reading for a brief amount of time before I had to leave. The reading overlapped with a religious holiday for me. However, while ending this piece, I wanted to focus on the strength of her voice in helping the text have a stronger effect on the reader.


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