Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Author Jonathan Lethem reads, signs latest book on campus

Posted on November 03, 2003 in News
By Erin Violette

Nationally published author Jonathan Lethem read from his new novel “The Fortress of Solitude” as part of Words and Images’ kickoff to their open call for submissions, last Wednesday night in Portland’s Woodbury Campus Center.

Lethem read a chapter from his latest novel, in which one of the characters tries to sell a movie pitch. Afterwards, he answered questions and signed copies of the book. An audience member asked Lethem why he writes novels. “That’s an impossible question,” Lethem answered, then provided a few quotes from other writers on the subject.

For much of the question and answer session, Lethem discussed the autobiographical circumstances in his writing. “The autobiographic aspect of book writing was something that I wasn’t able to use as a young writer,” Lethem said. “I understood that the characters were going to be receptacles for autobiographical material.” As he matured as a writer he learned how to use life experiences in his writing: “It’s the sentiment that is autobiographical,” he said.

When asked if the character he read about had anything to do with Edward Norton’s efforts to make Lethem’s novel “Motherless Brooklyn” into a movie, Lethem answered: “I’m not involved with any of that. I’ve very happily given up that right.” He explained that he sold the rights to his novel and his only interest is to “take the money and write another novel.

Erin Violette can be contacted at

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