Thursday, March 5, 2009

The traumas of public speaking, or Mueenuddin flounders at Elliott's Bay

I've come across some of Daniyal Mueenuddin's short stories in the New Yorker. So, when I heard that this talented young Pakistani writer was visiting Seattle and reading from his first book at Elliott Bay Book Company, I had to check it out.

A surprisingly large crowd (~35 people) were waiting for the writer to take the stage. After the host of the proceedings fluffed his name, Daniyal took the stage, visibly flustered. It took an agonizing couple of minutes for him to get out his first coherent sentence. Poor guy, I felt for him. I too get nervous before I speak in public, but not nearly quite as badly as Daniyal.

So, he stumbles through his reading, answers a few questions, and is uncomfortable throughout. Until the very end when it seemed like his real self came through a bit, with an almost shouted exclamation to go out and read his book. Seems like a really nice guy. It's clear he doesn't at all like speaking in public, which is a shame.

The first few pages of his book read really smoothly and I'm optimistic about the rest.

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