A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors

Edited by Annie Liontas and Jeff Parker. Univ. of Massachusetts, $28.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-62534-182-2
In this inspiring anthology, 67 writers discuss the effect mentorship had—or didn’t have—on their work and lives. Parker explains in his introduction that he initially started looking for contributions in 2011, hoping to make sense of his experience studying under Arthur Flowers and George Saunders for his M.F.A. Saunders and Flowers are both included, writing about what they gained from their relationships with Douglas Unger and Tobias Wolff (Saunders’s mentors) and with John O. Killens (Flowers’s). Four writers discuss not having a mentor, whether due to missed opportunities or, in Paisley Rekdal’s case, by her own choice. Rekdal’s essay is one of the best, detailing the disappointment she felt overhearing professors and writers she admired dismissing minority writers as beneficiaries of white liberal guilt, and wondering whether similar comments had been made about her. Many writers describe a sense of family and even love, as in Henry Rollins’s piece about Hubert Selby Jr., and admiration and awe are present throughout. What the writers share of their mentors, and what their mentors shared with them, makes for a fascinating work on writing and the student-teacher relationship. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/26/2015
Release date: 12/01/2015
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-1-62534-181-5
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