Friday, April 18, 2008

Meet the Author - ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer is an ebullient speaker and a spirited writer. Her short stories place keenly observed individuals in challenging or transformational situations, and she states, “When I am writing these stories, I am really concentrating on the characters and what are their circumstances and motivations and what do they want.” Indeed, her stories offer a strong sense of empathy for the characters, many of whom are young adults. Given the author’s age, 35, that is understandable.

As a child, ZZ changed her given name, Zuwena (meaning “good” in Swahili,) to “ZZ”, a family nickname. She says it made life easier for her, but it also demonstrates an individualistic flare. And, of course, ZZ Packer makes for a great author’s name!

Moving in her youth from Chicago to Atlanta and finally to Louisville, Kentucky, ZZ excelled at math and science and wished to become an engineer. She was accepted by MIT, but chose to attend Yale University where she developed an interest in writing. Graduate work in the Writing Seminars program at Johns Hopkins University was followed by her participation in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She then became a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

Several of her stories have appeared in “The New Yorker” and her short story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2003. This debut book was also nominated for the 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. ZZ Packer is currently working on her first novel.
Here are a few interesting articles about her.

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