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Short Story Writer Visits Spartanburg

Wofford+president+Nayef+Samhat+and+author+David+Lynn+after+the+reading+at+Hub+City+Bookshop
Wofford president Nayef Samhat and author David Lynn after the reading at Hub City Bookshop

Author David Lynn makes an appearance at Hub City Bookshop

On Oct. 22, author, editor and professor David Lynn gave a reading to an audience at Hub City Bookshop in downtown Spartanburg. During his discussion, sponsored by the Wofford College Creative Writing Department, Lynn read excerpts from his latest short story collection entitled “Children of God: New and Selected Stories.”

Lynn is the former editor of the Kenyon Review, a prominent international literary journal. He spent 15 years in this position. He is currently a professor of English at his alma mater, Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. Lynn earned his Master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a Doctorate of Philosophy there as well. 

Lynn’s authorship extends beyond short stories—he has also written a novel as well as several essays. His book, “Wrestling With Gabriel” depicts the experience of a reporter whose brother Gabriel is accused of rape; the reporter wrestles with the truth about his brother as well as the influence of socialist politics on the situation.

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The first short story that Lynn read from was inspired by true events—one of his friends had been biking and ran over a groundhog, resulting in a crash that left them unharmed. In the short story, however, the narrator is not as lucky; he runs over the animal and is knocked unconscious for two weeks, waking up disoriented and unsure of what happened. 

The author also opened his reading up to a question-and-answer session, which he said was what he most enjoyed doing. 

Lynn’s works are often cross-cultural; his wife is a historian of India, and the couple spent time living there. The second story that he read from was set in India—inspired by his time there. In relation to this, one audience member asked how he handled writing from diverse perspectives as a white man. In his stories, especially those set in India, he mostly writes from the perspective of a visiting American rather than from a native of the country—he mentioned that there were a few short stories in which the narrator was a different race or gender than himself that elected to cut out of “Children of God” in order to avoid possible criticism. 

Lynn’s main question for himself when writing about other cultures is: “does it work?” 

He also discussed parts of his writing process as well, specifically how to know when a story is finished.

“Give it time,” Lynn says, “There’s no hurry.”

Workshops, he said, are also a great place for authors to look for help finishing a story. While there were not many when he was starting out, he says, he recommends them to aspiring writers. 

“Children of God” is on sale now at Hub City Bookshop and at Braddock Avenue Books.

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