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Sunday, March 3

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Author Mon Mar 18 2013

Gapers Block Interview with Gillian Flynn as part of Story Week's Literary Rock and Roll

Celebrate all things literary at the 17th annual Story Week festival March 17-22. As always, this weeklong tribute to the literary arts is sponsored by the Columbia College Chicago Fiction Writing Department with help from the Chicago Public Library and the Metro.

All events are free and open to the public. Check out one of Story Week's hallmark events, Literary Rock and Roll, on Thursday, March 21 at 6pm at the Metro, located at 3730 N. Clark St.

This "Girl Trouble" themed rock and roll extravaganza will feature readings by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Jane Hamilton (Laura Rider's Masterpiece), and Joe Meno (Office Girl). Settle in for a post-reading set by the female-fronted The Right Now. Get there early to snag a seat.

Ukranain Village resident and writer Gillian Flynn, whose dark thriller Gone Girl (2012), just sold movie rights to Fox for a film co-produced by Reese Witherspoon, will be headlining the night. She was born in Kansas City, MO and received her undergrad degree in English and Journalism from the University of Kansas, and later, attended Northwestern for an Masters degree in journalism. Before settling in Chicago, Flynn lived in New York City for 10 years and worked at Entertainment Weekly. Her debut novel, a mystery entitled Sharp Objects (2006), was an Edgar Award finalist and was the first novel to win two of Britain's Dagger Awards in a single year. The movie rights to Sharp Objects have been sold, along with those of her second novel Dark Places (2009).

Gapers Block got a hold of Flynn to ask how her career has embodied Story Week's theme of Vision and Voice, and for a small a glimpse at what we can expect this Thursday:

You had a long career at Entertainment Weekly. How has being an entertainment journalist influenced your personal writing?

Certainly being a pop culture fanatic has influenced my writing -- Gone Girl is packed with references to movies, snippets of songs, winks at certain genres. It's very much a story about story telling. I don't think people give enough credit to really smart pop-culture journalism. What a country is listening to and watching and reading -- and why -- tells us a great deal about the culture at that moment.

As a journalist there are certain guidelines one has to take into account. What did you take from this background that has become part of your writing process?

The sheer discipline of being a journalist has become crucial to my writing. It was extremely helpful to have spent so many years at a weekly magazine, where you don't have the luxury of "not feeling like writing today." It teaches you that you can't wait for the muse; you have to park yourself in your chair and write. And then rewrite. I truly don't think I ever would have finished my first novel if I hadn't been a journalist.

What excites you right now about Chicago's literary scene?

Chicago is such a lively, aware, present city. I find the literary scene to be edgy and intellectual but still very Midwestern in the best way. People would rather hear what you have to say than close you out. I think that's a very good way for a writer to live.

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