The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Beloved author Jodi Picoult speaks at Carnegie Music Hall

On October 20, book lovers of Pittsburgh filled up the Carnegie Music Hall to hear New York Times bestselling and award winning author Jodi Picoult promote her twenty-third novel “Leaving Time.”

Jodi Picoult is an author known for writing about the numerous shades of gray surrounding controversial issues. Fans of her work came in hopes of simply hearing about her latest creation and got even more than expected. Instead of just talking about her new book, Picoult gave readers insight into several books she has written throughout her career.

Although, from time to time, the author has dabbled in the supernatural, in a time where vampire love stories and love triangles set in dystopian societies fill the shelves of bookstores, what has made Picoult’s novels stand out is her use of real world issues. Over the past two decades she has written about things ranging from genetically engineered children to gay rights.

As a result of her self described, “lack of anguish,” instead of following the time honored writer’s rule of writing what she knows, Picoult instead prefers to write about what she wants to learn.

“I never sit down and make it all up,” she told the audience, “In fact there are times when I spend more time doing research for a novel than writing the first draft.”

The author recounted her experiences observing open heart surgery, visiting death row, living with the Amish, interviewing members of Focus on the Family, and even ghost hunting for sake of research.

Over the course of over an hour, Picoult captivated the audience with tales of haunted houses, holocaust survivors, the bond between elephants, and the experience of co-authoring a novel with her then teenaged daughter.

Although Picoult’s own life has not been riddled with the kinds of tragedies her characters have endured the subjects she explores through her writing are, on occasion, close to her heart. In fact, she has said that the trajectory of her career has reflected different points of her life.

In the beginning of her career, she says she wrote about marriage and being a daughter. She then transformed into the perspective of a mother.

“For a period of about 10 years I wrote about every terrible thing that can happen to your kids,” she said jokingly, adding, “I’m sure I’m going to be writing about putting your parents in rest homes.”

Picoult feels a great deal of responsibility in her writing seeing it as a kind of back door activism.

“There’s something that fiction can do that non-fiction cannot,” she said. “People pick up a novel and almost by accident, by the time they close that last page they are forced to reevaluate whatever opinions they had.”

From her anecdotes about her children to encouraging the audience members to write their elected officials to save an elephant, Picoult both entertained and informed her audience. Picoult’s latest novel “Leaving Time” is now available in stores.

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