Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Author seeks peace for thought

Mark Salzman to lecture on the creative process

Express Staff Writer

    On Saturday, Dec. 15, The Sawtooth Institute, in collaboration with The Community Library in Ketchum, will present “Write in Peace,” an all-day seminar with author Mark Salzman.
    Salzman is an award-winning novelist and nonfiction author who has written about a variety of subjects, from a graceful novel about a Carmelite nun’s ecstatic visions and crisis of faith to a compelling memoir about growing up a misfit in a Connecticut suburb—clearly displaying a range that transcends genre.
    As a boy, all Salzman ever wanted was to be a Kung Fu master, but it was his proficiency on the cello that facilitated his acceptance to Yale University at the age of 16. He soon changed his major to Chinese language and philosophy, which took him to mainland China, where he taught English for two years and studied martial arts. Salzman’s cello playing is on the soundtrack of several films, including the Academy Award-winning documentary “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien.” He has also played with Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax at the Lincoln Center. Salzman’s unusual combination of talents—as both a well-known author and a concert-proficient cellist—led to a feature profile about him in The New Yorker magazine.
    His first memoir, “Iron and Silk,” inspired by his years in China, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction and received the Christopher Award.
    “True Notebooks” is a fascinating look at his experiences as a writing teacher at Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall, a lockup for violent teenage offenders. He is also the author of the memoir “Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia,” and the novels “The Laughing Sutra,” “The Soloist,” and “Lying Awake.” His newest work is “The Man in the Empty Boat,” a moving account of his own struggle with “creative frustration.”
    Salzman’s seminar, “Write in Peace,” will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in The Community Library lecture room. It is open to the public. Tickets are limited and are available for $60 ($20 for students) through the College of Southern Idaho 788-2033 or at the door.  For more information, contact

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