Rather than waiting until September, I have decided to launch this feature today, August 28, 2007, on Chris Barzak World Domination Day. I guess that gives away the first CI Creative Spotlight honoree.
I met Chris through Thinkers and Drinkers and am very excited that we have such a gifted and creative individual like him in Youngstown. Chris is one of those ever important boomerangers, people who bring their talents and ideas back to the Valley. He grew up in rural Kinsman, Ohio, went to Youngstown State University (go Penguins!!), has lived in Southern California, the capital of Michigan, and the suburbs of Tokyo, where he taught English in junior high and elementary schools. Currently he lives in Youngstown, Ohio, and teaches writing at Youngstown State University.
Why is he the first Creative Spotlight? Glad you asked. Man can he write. His stories have appeared in many venues. Recently he was nominated for a Nebula Award. But the biggest reason is that today he releases his first novel, One for Sorrow, published by Bantam Books.
From the press release: “Set in a small rural community and in the rustbelt city of Youngstown, Ohio, part thriller, part ghost tale, part love story, One for Sorrow is a novel as timeless as Catcher in the Rye and as haunting as The Lovely Bones. His stunning debut tells of a teenage boy’s coming-of-age that begins with a shocking murder and ends with a reason to hope.
About One for Sorrow, Publishers Weekly says, “Death forges a supernatural bond between two lonely teenage boys in Barzak's first novel. Fifteen-year-old Adam McCormick is haunted by the earthbound ghost of his murdered classmate, Jamie Marks. Barzak admirably defies convention...the novel's approach to familiar material is refreshing.” Jonathan Lethem, National Book Award winning author of Motherless Brooklyn, says, “Barzak's sympathy and humor, his awareness, his easeful vernacular storytelling, are extraordinary,” and Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, says One for Sorrow is, “An amazing, original debut from an amazing, original writer.” Scott Westerfeld, author of the popular YA series Uglies, calls One for Sorrow, “An honest and uncanny ride through the shadows between grief and acceptance.”
A book reception will be held at the Oakland Center for the Arts in Downtown Youngstown on September 1, from 7 to 11 PM. There will be wine, food, and live music and art inspired by One for Sorrow. Barnes and Noble will sell copies of the novel at the event. Christopher Barzak will read from the book and sign copies.
Chris will also sign books at the following events this fall: Borders in Niles, OH, September 15, 2-4 PM; Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights, OH, September 22, 5 PM; Youngstown State University Poetry Center Reading, October 2, 7 PM; Barnes and Noble in Boardman, Ohio) October 9, 7 PM; and at a local Book Club Discussion Group at Barnes and Noble, Boardman, OH, October 18, 7 PM.”
So check out this must read and make sure you stop by one of those events to say hello to Chris. It will be a very worthwhile experience.
So from all of us here at The Creativity Incubator (or me), we thank you Chris for being our first Creative Spotlight. Here’s to you for being a creative spark, for energizing Youngstown.
And to everyone else, thanks for reading. At some point today you will have an opportunity to change our world through your creativity. Take it. I want to be writing about it in the future.