Seeing Frank McCourt

One of my class-mates passed around a flyer that said that Frank McCourt was going to be reading at Lamar University. Although the name excited me, I had no idea where Lamar University was, or didn’t have the courage to go there by myself. But another class-mate showed interest and I decided to tag along with her, to get the chance to see one of my favorite writers. So we hiked the 90 miles to Beaumont and Frank McCourt was worth every minute of the long drive.

McCourt wrote his seminal work Angela’s Ashes when he was 66. He won the Pulitzer Prize for it and suddenly shot to fame. Angela’s Ashes is a look into his life as a child in Ireland, and is one of those rare books that can make you smile, cry, think. I’ve reviewed the book here, so won’t say anything else, to avoid redundancy.

I’ve also read his later work Teacher Man, about his experience as a teacher in New York city.

McCourt made his audience laugh at almost every sentence and it was a joy to hear his Irish brawl that he has still maintained after so many years in America. He’s 78, but I first noticed his erect posture. He seemed to enjoy the talk itself, but was a little overwhelmed with the book signing that followed the lecture. I don’t blame him, because one-on-one interaction (with your “fans”) can be tiresome. But this interaction itself is something that I’m wary off. I’m one who thinks that writers must be kept at a distance from their works, because it is very possible that you might not like the person that has written your most favorite book. I go to a school where creative writing is upheld, and I study with the future writers, and I can tell you, you won’t like many of them if you were to know them. I guess one can’t put McCourt in the same category because he was also a teacher.

To cut a long story short, I went to see Frank McCourt read, and I had a fun evening. There.

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