• The Crestiad

Literary salon features London author

Caila Grigoletti

A & E Editor

Preterite hosted a very special Literary Salon this semester on Sunday, November 10. Dr. Luann Fletcher was able to contact the author of the book “The Keeper of Lost Things”, Ruth Hogan, who lives in England. English faculty and students alike attended to listen to the published writer explain how she created her book.

Preterite has been running a literary salon and discussion event from past semesters, but according to the President, Natalie Bennington, they have rarely ever been able to talk to the author about the book they read. At the beginning of the semester, the executive board purchased and distributed several copies of the book to members of the club to read by the specified date. This way, they could have a focused discussion about the novel and choose their questions to Hogan carefully.

Dr. Fletcher begins the discussion by reading facts written by Hogan herself so her readers can get to know her better. Another guest of the Salon, and who the students had to thank for arranging this video call, was Kim Racon. She works at HarperCollins Publishers, the company that produced and sold Hogan’s novel.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth in October when I was in England on vacation and she is delightful,” Racon said. “Her house is a collection of lost things that people have found, or that she has found. It can be things like a key chain or a glove, anything that she finds.”

Since Hogan’s book is about all the stories of lost items and where they came from before arriving at the house of Anthony Peardew, the main character of her novel, the author is reverend to live her art. By collecting all these objects throughout her writing process, she fashioned a sentimental, warm, sometimes dark piece that the attendants seemed to love. 

Fletcher asks the audience questions she gathered before the call to Hogan. The dialogue between those two women turned out to be very revealing to key elements of the books and why Hogan chose to write the story as she did.  

“One of the questions people wanted to know was, your composition process. We talked about the stories that are interwoven with the objects,” Fletcher said. “So, if you could talk to us about the concept of the story, where you got the idea from, did it come from the objects or some bigger idea you had, and then what?”

Hogan’s response: “I really wish that I was more organized, in some respects, because now that I have done other literary events with other authors, they’re so good at planning and plotting whereas I am much more the ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ type. The inspiration for Keeper though, came from two newspaper articles.” 

This conversation about stylistic choices went on for about 30 minutes till the end of the salon. Hogan’s honesty about her characters and the darker themes of the story like abuse and mental illness helped the readers understand even more the choices she made and why. It was a real pleasure to hear the author discuss a book she truly cared about.

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