Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Gave Philip Gourevitch a Breath Mint

Philip Gourevitch came to Pittsburgh today to do a reading. The English department sponsored a lunch with him for the graduate students and I got to sit right next to him! He was a most fascinating person. I perked up the most when I asked him what it was like to work with an interpreter. In his book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, he mentions an interpreter only once and I asked him why this was.

He then told us all a fantastic story about a possibly gay Rwandan florist who was a wonderful interpreter and used the exposure as a potential business venture. Philip would take him out into farmlands, and the florist would try to wheedle the farmers to grow plants for him. Anyway, it was a great story. My favorite part of lunch.

Afterward, I gave him an Altoid. Everyone should have an Altoid after lunch, particularly if he or she is going to give a workshop and reading.

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