She won last year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with her novel A Visit From The Goon Squad and now author Jennifer Egan has taken the digital publishing revolution firmly in her hand (well, her thumb and index finger) by publishing a short story entirely on Twitter. A world first, Black Box was serialised in 140-character instalments over 10 nights by The New Yorker. Stylist took to Twitter to interview her…
Where did the idea for a serialised book, built on Twitter come from?
Curiosity about what sort of story might require telling in such short bursts, and a narrator who could make them mysterious and compelling.
How long has it taken you to craft each bitesize element into 140 character chunks?
Keeping the segments short was inherent to the voice, and came naturally. Reducing the *overall* length was the real challenge
Are you trying to bring back the era of the serialised novel?
The more deeply fiction is intertwined with our daily lives, the more urgently it matters, and communal reading is profoundly fun
ABOVE: Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning book
Are there any authors (past or present) who you wish had their own Twitter accounts?
The epic poets would have had a heyday. Spenser, Byron – hell, why not Homer? Since I’m a terrible poet, I had to resort to fiction.
You won the Pulitzer for A Visit From The Goon Squad. How did it feel to receive that kind of recognition?
Very, very lucky. I dread a correction in the form of a block of concrete falling from the sky!
What are the best and worst things about being a novelist?
Best: no boss; get paid to live in a fantasyland; total control; lots of time with my kids. Worst: my fault alone if it stinks!
Go to newyorker.com to read Black Box. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @Egangoonsquad