Carolina De Robertis is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Invisible Mountain (Knopf, 2009), which won the Rhegium Julii Debut Prize, has been translated into fourteen languages, and was named a Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Booklist. It was also a finalist for a California Book Award, an International Latino Book Award, and the VCU Cabell Award. Her writings and literary translations have appeared in Granta, Zoetrope: Allstory, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among others. Her translation of Bonsai, by Alejandro Zambra, was named one of the Ten Best Translated Books of 2008 by the journal Three Percent. She has worked extensively in women’s organizations, on issues from rape to immigration. De Robertis was named the #1 New Latino Author to Watch in 2010 by Latino Stories.com. Currently, she’s at work on her third novel; her second novel, Perla, is forthcoming from Knopf in March of 2012.
The Invisible Mountain, a novel (Knopf, 2009)
How I Teach:
Writing is a mysterious alchemical phenomenon, at once serious and exhilarating, deeply solitary and yet nourished by communion with others. As a teacher, I do not aim to guide you into any particular aesthetic, but to support you in discovering and burnishing your true voice. I believe in the writing classroom as a wellspring of mutual inspiration, aesthetic rigor and dynamic exchange—a space in which students can build trust, take risks, and explore their own work through various prisms.
I also believe that, as writers, we draw strength, tools, and perspective from our passion for reading. It’s incredibly important to read; the masterful writing we ingest will show us how to write if we are patient and intrepid enough. I strive to nurture that intrepidity, both in myself and in students. This often means developing a reading plan tailored to a student’s interests and areas of growth.
As a one-on-one mentor, I strive to give the kind of comments that will most serve the work. At early stages of the writing-and-revision cycle for any given piece, the eagle eye is far more useful than close line edits; at later stages, the opposite may be true. Regardless, I read each manuscript closely, not only looking at what’s already on the page, but also at what it has the potential to become. All diamonds begin in the rough. What glints lie buried in you?