Kitamura and Bakopoulos talk fiction at Literati
Katie Kitamura’s writing style is inimitably different from the majority of modern American literature stocking national bookstore shelves. An American novelist, art critic and journalist, Katie Kitamura earned her PhD in American literature from the London Consortium after graduating from Princeton University in 1999. She has written both nonfiction and fiction pieces of literature, in addition to writing articles for The Guardian, The New York Times and Wired. Monday night, Kitamura will converse about her new novel “A Separation” with Natalie Bakopoulos, an author and professor of Modern Greek, who is a graduate of the MFA program at Michigan.
Kitamura’s novel, which was published earlier this month, has already been widely read and acclaimed.
“The novel is about a woman who is only recently separated from her husband when she is told that he is missing,” Kitamura said. “She travels to a remote part of Greece to look for him, and the story unspools from there. The landscape in the southern Peloponnese was in a lot of ways the origin of the book — I was looking for a character, and a narrative voice, that would reflect that landscape.”
Due to the intriguing plot of her story, the book has gained enough recognition to be turned into a movie. Kitamura’s book will be adapted into a film later this year, starring Katherine Waterston.
The novel is mesmerizing and follows a story that is not commonly depicted in literature and film. She explores the themes of divorce and the disintegration of relationships in a unique setting. Kitamura’s prose has been described as “somewhat hypnotic” by various book reviewers on a variety of online blogs and as a must-read for lovers of all genres.
Kitamura is an established and knowledgeable author, and has already written one nonfiction book and three fiction novels.
“Fiction is really where my heart is — I find that it’s easier for me to be direct in fiction,” Kitamura said when asked about her preference between the two genres. “Nonfiction tends to make me more self-conscious, which is never useful for a writer.”
Kitamura has also dabbled in journalism throughout her career, and she believes it beneficial to be exposed to other artists’ work.
“I only have one piece of advice, which is to read as much as possible,” Kitamura said. “I don’t know a single good writer who is not also a good reader.”
Both Bakopoulos and Kitamura emphasize the importance of being both a writer and a reader.
“Art takes time. It cannot be rushed,” Bakopoulos said, mirroring Kitamura’s words. “You have to commit, and you have to commit fully. Try to experience as much art as you can. If you want to be a writer, read. And read. And read. Otherwise you won't be any good.”