Best-Selling Author Shares Strategies for Success with M.A. in Writing Students

On Jan. 20, investigative author Edwin Black spent some time with seven students from the M.A. in Writing program at the Farquhar Colleges of Arts and Sciences to discuss writing and to workshop the students’ story ideas. Black, a best-selling author with more than 1 million copies of his books in print, provided candid advice and strategies for success in the industry.

Black stressed the importance of writers isolating themselves while they work. “There’s a world out there” that needs to be excluded, he said, to avoid distractions that may hinder a writer’s ability to produce stories. Writers instead, Black said, should immerse themselves in their own created worlds with their characters and plots.

The author also encouraged the students to be sure of their work and to open their ears to critiques of their writing. Black ensures that his books are read on average by 50 to 100 people before going to print.

Above all, Black advised the students to write every day. “There’s no such thing as writer’s block,” he said. “To me, writing is physical; it’s not an easy-does-it business. You must write and train yourself like an athlete.”

Following the workshop, Black spoke to the NSU community about his book The Farhud, released in November 2010. The book presents well-documented truths about Arab-Nazi collaboration during the Holocaust and sheds new light on the discussion of the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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