Joanna Rakoff discusses the first pages of her memoir, My Salinger Year, how she approached the writing through the vantage point of a novelist, her use of the royal we, her poetry background and how it influenced her sentences, and her advice to begin your book with what you’re most passionate about, in whatever form that may be.
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Joanna Rakoff is the author of the international bestselling memoir My Salinger Year and the bestselling novel A Fortunate Age, winner of the Goldberg Prize for Fiction and the Elle Readers’ Prize. Rakoff’s books have been translated into twenty languages, and the film adaptation of My Salinger Year opened in theaters worldwide in 2021 and is now streaming. She has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from MacDowell, Sewanee, Bread Loaf, Jerome Foundation, Authors’ Guild, PEN, Ragdale Foundation, Art OMI/Ledig House, and Saltonstall; and has taught at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, and Aspen Words. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, O: The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, Elle, Porter, and elsewhere, and her new memoir, The Fifth Passenger, is forthcoming from Little, Brown in 2024.