Matthew Pearl


The Poe ShadowI went out tonight for the first time in a while, which is something I need to do more often. I went to the Decatur Library, home of the Georgia Center for the Book, which hosted a book reading, discussion, and signing for Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club (see my review). He has a new book out entitled The Poe Shadow; it centers around the mysterious circumstances of the death of Edgar Allan Poe. What I am about to share makes me appear a bit fangirly, which makes me nervous, since I know Matthew Pearl has at least seen my English class blog — he sent me an e-mail after finding a post in which I recommended that to my students that we all read The Poe Shadow over summer break and have a book club discussion. He graciously thanked me for recommending the book to my students. I was, of course, thrilled by this.

Tonight, when I was getting my book signed, I mentioned the blog post and the e-mail, and he said “Oh, you’re Ms. Huff!” Squee! OK. I won’t do that again, I promise. I was so excited that he remembered me. I wish my students had been there.

He is quite funny in person, and had some really interesting things to share about the writing process. It made me want to write again. I need to sit down and think about what I want to write about, but I definitely want to do some more.

I don’t know why, but I am always so happy and surprised to discover that writers are nice. I suppose I expect them to be too busy or too important to be nice, and when they are, as they invariably are, it makes me so happy.

I won a page of the manuscript of The Dante Club by correctly answering the following question: How old was Poe’s wife Virginia when he married her?

Do you know the answer? I’m not giving you my manuscript page if you do. That’s going in a frame in my classroom.