New York City author and Random House senior editor Anna Pitoniak recently held a question-and-answer session with Blinn College-Schulenburg English students, discussing the writing, editing, and publishing processes.
“We were excited to have Anna Pitoniak join our class because she currently is writing and editing,” said Audrey Wick, English Professor. “It is valuable to talk about the literature that surrounds us because it is important that students don’t think literature is something from the past. Good books are being written by authors today.”
Wick incorporated Pitoniak into the English 1302 syllabus this semester. Students read excerpts from her debut book, The Futures, about a young couple who moves to New York in search of success only to learn that the lives they dream of may come with dangerous strings attached.
“I enjoyed putting a face and a personality to the author, and it gave the book more life to hear about the background of it all,” freshman Robert Herzik said. “It made us feel special that we got someone as prolific as Anna Pitoniak to come in and talk to us about her first book being published.”
Pitoniak grew up in Whistler, British Columbia, and graduated from Yale in 2010, where she majored in English and was an editor at the Yale Daily News. She now lives in New York City, where she is a senior editor at Penguin Random House, the largest general-interest publisher in the world. She currently is working on her next novel.
During the session, students asked Pitoniak questions regarding her inspiration to write The Futures, developing plots and characters in novels, generating ideas, dealing with writer’s block, how living in New York has shaped her as a writer, and her methods for writing.
“It was really insightful and nice to get a lot of the same critiques that she gives out as an editor to writers for their books,” Herzik said. “As college students, we can apply this in our everyday lives as well as our classes to really focus on what we want to say and articulate our thoughts on paper.”
Pitoniak discussed methods for editing, being an editor at Random House, and the publishing process.
“I loved the chance to show Ms. Wick's students what the writing and editing process looks like and how a manuscript makes the journey from initial idea to published book,” Pitoniak said. “I hoped that the students would learn something that I myself learned when I came into publishing, which is that a book is not a static or fixed thing, but rather the evolving product of a person's imagination. I enjoyed the questions and conversation with all the students.”
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