Q&A with Christine Reilly '10
Christine Reilly's debut novel, Sunday's on the Phone to Monday (Simon & Schuster, 2016) received praise from Kirkus Reviews, Elle Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and elsewhere. A resident of New York City, she has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Dalton School, City and Country School, and Collegiate School.
Why did you pursue creative writing at Bucknell?
"English had always been a long-term love of my life, so I double majored in psychology and English at Bucknell, and took some creative writing classes. The moment I took my first creative writing workshop, my career wish became a no-brainer. I wanted to bestow in others the faith and the drive I had gained from my professors."
What is it like teaching creative writing workshops?
"The writing workshop is my favorite room to be in — there are few rooms in life where people can be so honest, vulnerable, collaborative and openly moved by language and literature. Students write from different places, for different reasons, and produce vastly different content, so I try to tailor to the potentials of each student. My most challenging classes tend to be with "beginner" students, who often have never been given critiques on anything they've produced that's personal to them. It's the first and probably the hardest lesson to learn in workshop."
What are you passionate about in the fiction you read?
"I love character-driven literary fiction, and poetry. Marcel Proust, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, David Foster Wallace, Don DeLillo, Amy Bloom, Alice Munro, Anais Nin, Kazuo Ishiguro, Mary Gaitskill, Donald Barthelme, Aimee Bender, Jennifer Egan, Ernest Hemingway. I can go on! One of the greatest joys of teaching creative writing is that I get to teach some of my favorite authors."
Do you have any words of encouragement for students and alumni interested in building lives around fiction writing?
"Try to write every day. Carry around a notebook for the inconvenient times the muse hits you. Rejection is nothing to be afraid of. Try to love the work you do even when you only see what's wrong with it. Read all the time, especially writers with different approaches and styles."
Posted on April 26, 2017 on Bucknell English: Creative Writing, Film/Media, Literary Studies, the facebook page for the programs in the Department of English.