An acclaimed novelist, who wrote a personal memoir about when his career took a turn for the worst, is coming to Stony Brook Southampton this week for Writers Speak Wednesdays, a series of author talks put on by the college's MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.
According to the program, Benjamin Anastas wrote "An Underachiever’s Diary" and "The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance: A Novel," the latter of which was selected as a New York Times Notable Book in 2001. His 2005 novella "Versace Enthroned with Saints: Margaret, Jerome, Alex and the Angel Donatella," won the Smart Family Foundation Prize for Fiction.
His revealing memoir is "Too Good to Be True." The MFA program stated that many bookstores refused to stock the book because it was published by an imprint of Amazon Publishing — a division of online retailer Amazon.com.
In January, AV Club's Nathan Rabin wrote, "The brutally honest book chronicles his fall from promising young novelist to a broke, overwhelmed, and desperate single father and divorcé."
Anastas told AV Club that he wanted to be a writer from early on. He said:
"It was sometime when I was in high school when I started fantasizing about seeing my book on the shelf. I think it was my senior year when I ended up dropping Spanish, which I loved and was good at, so that I could do an independent study with one of the faculty members, working on the first short story I wrote. And from that point on, I was hooked. I started taking writing classes when I was a freshman in college. I went to the University of Rochester. There was a really good undergraduate writing program there. They even had workshops, so I started doing that as soon as I went to school."
Read the full interview at avclub.com.
Anastas' visit, including a reading from his work and talk with the audience, is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of the campus' Chancellors Hall.
For more information on Writers Speak, call 631-632-5287 or visit www.stonybrook.edu/mfa.