October 21, 2011, by Thomas Legendre
Kerry Young: The Challenges of First-Person Narration
Kerry Young came to the university to read from her debut novel and to speak about writing and publishing. Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, she has spent much of her career focusing on the writing and editing of non-fiction such as The Art of Youth Work and other professional publications, as well as chapters and articles in academic books and journals. She has a PhD from De Montfort University and an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
Kerry Young read from Pao and discussed the process of writing and publication. In particular she addressed the challenges of having a first-person narrator who speaks in Jamaican patios, the use of biographical sources in the novel, and her method of incorporating larger political and cultural concerns into the storyline. She also described how the novel changed over numerous revisions, eventually taking a much different shape that she originally intended. Questions from the audience led to a discussion about the discipline of writing and the necessity of responding constructively to editorial feedback.