By Shaleen Sharan, Staff Writer

Author Ismet Prcic, who recently received the GLCA prize for fiction for his novel Shards, spoke in the Barney-Davis boardroom on Feb. 24 as the latest Beck Lecture series writer. Assistant Professor of English Peter Grandbois introduced Prcic, speaking highly about the book and how he had begun to fear he had lost the joy of reading before finding it. “I found one story that [made] me feel like a kid again,” he said. “The one that made me sit up and take notice… Those stories are rare, but they are why we read. Ismet Prcic’s novel, Shards, is just such a story.”

Grandbois added, “Shards is a hypnotizing, galvanizing read, as traumatic as it is exhilarating. We never stop caring about the narrator because Prcic is so good at opening up his humanity and in doing so, opening ours.”

Prcic himself was a delight to listen to. He started out by telling the students that he was nervous and so he “[would] probably sweat a lot.” His humor and charm immediately endeared the students to him and in moments, he had most of them laughing uproariously. He read some choice sections of his book, choosing from an array of poignant, humorous and intense scenes. His selections highlighted how versatile his writing was as he evoked many different emotions in his audience in a few pages. An example would be the title of one of his chapters, “The Absurdity of Reality: The Mindboggling, F**king Unlikeliness of It All.”

During the question and answer session, Prcic had more nuggets of wisdom to hand out regarding his writing process and how he got started. “In class, I was taught by a poet and she just told us to write text; write three pages and by the end, you have a portfolio,” he said. “She would just tell you what to do and then you go and you sit down and by the end, you have a bunch of these really different weird things and then she’d ask you to put it in order that would make sense. And then going through and finding how and if they fit together, you realize there’s all these motifs that repeating themselves, and I find out what I want to write about.”

Regarding the talk, Olivia Davidson ’14, an English literature and communication double major from Mason, Ohio, said “I’m really glad I attended his talk. Almost everything he said about narrative and writing was somehow relevant to classes I just happened to have taken or be in right now, so that was really interesting.”

Alice Heider ‘14, a creative writing major from North Barrington, Ill., added that “he had a lot of life lessons for us, and he had some interesting concepts about reality and how he wanted to discuss it. He seemed like a nice guy.”