Must-Read Q&A on the Art of First Person Writing

In an illuminating Q&A with Gelf Magazine, Avi Steinberg expounds on the practice of immersive journalism and describes the moment he realized he was living his first book. “Once a person decides, or more often recognizes, that he is a writer, he becomes more vigilant in seeing everyday detail in terms of consciously created narratives. I think this compulsion to translate everyday life into a story is in fact what first makes a person to decide to write. For someone like this, it’s either writing, or going around talking to himself.”

Steinberg’s debut, Running the Books, follows the two years he spent working at the Suffolk County House of Correction in Massachusetts, while trying to escape the expectations of his religious upbringing and Ivy League education. The New York Times calls it “acidly funny. Mr. Steinberg proves to be a keen observer, and a morally serious one. His memoir is wriggling and alive — as involving, and as layered, as a good coming-of-age novel.”

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