Welcome to Guildtalk. For this exclusive series, the Rumpus has partnered with the Authors Guild to bring attention to exciting new voices in American literature. In each installment, an established Authors Guild member will choose an emerging talent or a largely unknown master to interview about writing, publishing, marketing, craft, and teaching. The result should broaden our understanding of what it means to live a literary life. It will also bring us together for a conversation about what it means to be a writer in the twenty-first century. In this premier installment, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Authors Guild Vice President Richard Russo speaks to novelist Eddie Joyce on behalf of the Rumpus.
Staten Island is probably the last borough people think about when New York City comes to mind. What sets Staten Island apart from the other four boroughs? What do you think would surprise people the most about Staten Island?
Staten Island is definitely the fifth of five boroughs in most people’s minds. It does stand apart from the rest of the city in a number of ways: geographically, demographically, politically, even architecturally. It is easily the most suburban; parts of the Island are still almost rural, though that’s disappearing quickly. There are very few tall buildings, no subways, and there’s not much of the hustle and bustle that people associate with city life. Of all the boroughs, it ‘feels’ the least like New York City.