Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Literature as Self-Defense-- James Lasdun

James Lasdun, who speaks at a newly added Writers Institute event at UAlbany, Wed. 4/24, in the
Standish Room, Sci Lib, uptown, is interviewed in  The Millions about his new memoir of being stalked by a writing student.

Lasdun, a fellow at the Writers Institute, currently teaches two free, noncredit writing workshops for members of the community-at-large at the Institute.

From The Millions: http://www.themillions.com/2013/02/literature-as-self-defense-an-interview-with-james-lasdun.html

"James Lasdun’s new book, Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked, is a memoir about an experience that is in fact still ongoing. In 2003, he taught a course in creative writing at a college in New York. His most gifted student was an Iranian-born woman in her early 30s, who was writing a novel based on her family’s experiences living in Iran under the shah. In 2005, the woman – whom he calls “Nasreen” – emailed Lasdun to announce that she had finished a draft of her book; although he was too busy to read it at the time, he was confident enough in her talent to recommend her to his agent. They emailed back and forth, and an online friendship began to develop. Nasreen’s correspondence began to intensify, however – to become stranger and more aggressively seductive – and so Lasdun, a happily married man, ceased to respond. The book is an exploration of the effects of this relationship turning sour, as Nasreen continued to hound him online, her emails becoming increasingly hate-filled and anti-Semitic. A major aspect of her psychological guerrilla warfare involved direct attacks on his reputation, accusing him online (in Wikipedia entries, Amazon reviews, in comment sections of his articles) of sexual harassment and plagiarism. Give Me Everything You Have is a harrowing account of what it’s like to have someone expend a great deal of time and energy on the project of damaging your life for no immediately obvious reason. It’s also a beautifully written and digressively essayistic exploration of anti-Semitism, travel, literature, and the mysteriously ramifying effects people have on each other."