By Lisa Capobianco
When award-winning writer Andre Dubus III became the 2014 Southington Reads Author for the library, he said that he felt honored. As an author of six books, all published in more than 25 different languages, Dubus never takes pride in rewriting everything he composes, feeling like his work is never complete.
“It is very encouraging,” said Dubus, referring to his title as the 2014 Southington Reads author. “When you finish a book, you do not know if it is going to be thrown off a cliff.”
Dubus recently released his sixth book called “Dirty Love,” which tells four long stories about love and betrayal among several main characters, including a project manager who follows his unfaithful wife. The library will display multiple copies of his recent book.
“There is something cleansing about writing about the lives of others,” said Dubus, who added that the characters in his novels are based on people in his own life, including himself.
Growing up on the Merrimack River along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, Dubus started to write fiction at the age of 22 after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in sociology. In his memoir called “Townie,” Dubus shares his story about growing up with a single mother in a town full of drugs and crime. In order to defend himself, Dubus became a boxer and learned to fight so well that he even scared himself, he said. His memoir serves as a meditation on physical violence as well as the success and failures of love.
“The hardest part was writing about my family,” said Dubus, who had a difficult time communicating with his father growing up.
A full-time teacher at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Dubus received numerous awards for his memoir including the “2012 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature,” and received the title of number four New York Times bestseller, according to his website. His novel, “House of Sand and Fog,” also became a success, becoming an Academy Award-nominated movie and an Oprah Book Club Selection. The novel also a number one New York Times bestseller and became a fiction finalist for the National Book Award.
Sue Smayda, the executive director at the Southington Library, said she felt impressed by the author the moment she heard him speak at the Connecticut Library Association’s conference, where he spoke about the art of being an author. Smayda said Dubus is the right candidate for the 2014 Southington Reads Author because his novels, including “Dirty Love,” spark conversation among books lovers.
“He does a terrific job,” Smayda said. “I think this book is great for discussion.”
Dubus will speak about his life as an author and his books at the Aqua Turf on March 18.
Although Dubus started writing later on in life, Dubus said his craft came naturally since he comes from a family full of writers. Dubus’s father wrote ten books, including “The Lieutenant,” “Finding a Girl in America,” and the story collections, “Separate Flights.” His first cousin once removed is James Lee Burke, who wrote more than 30 novels. Nell Dubus, his aunt, also writes novels.
“It is in the blood,” said Dubus, who added that he felt like himself for the first time when he started writing. “I cannot go without writing—the writing creates more writing.”