New author Adam Nemett told students they’re the ones who can save the world.
He visited campus on Feb. 25 to speak about his novel, We Can Save Us All, and talked with students in several creative writing classes about the writing process.
Nemett said during his talk in Northen Auditorium that he’s noticed the younger generation receiving a lot of criticism, most of which he believes is unfounded.
“Your generation is among the most inquisitive and hardworking people, with a tangible sense of purpose,” Nemett said.
We Can Save Us All was 12 years in the making and tells the story of a group of college-aged students who form an exclusive group of superhero-type revolutionaries in the midst of an apocalyptic threat.
Nemett read excerpts from the book at the Northen event and said the story is a response to climate change, higher education and revolutionary movements.
“A lot of movements and cults tend to deify their leaders, to the detriment of everyone, I think,” he said. “[We Can Save Us All] is sort of a cautionary tale, in that respect.”
Avery Younis, ‘21, attended his talk and said her favorite part was the discussion of character development.
“I liked hearing the excerpts he read, especially the one from Haley’s point of view, since he talked about her a lot when he visited class,” Younis said. “I’m really interested in the focus on the cult-like relationship.”
Nemett discussed during the event in Northen how the novel’s ending changed as the world changed in the past 12 years.
“It was originally heading toward a much darker place,” Nemett said.
But he said having children inspired him to write a more hopeful ending about where the novel’s world was headed.
He shared his experiences with the frustration and necessity of rejection, and the balance of catering to the demands of agents, editors and publishers, all while staying true to his story. He also talked about his college experience, which is relevant to the novel and included the writing and directing of a feature film, The Instrument.
Nemett graduated from Princeton University, the setting of his novel, and then received his MFA from the California College of the Arts.
He now works for the History Factory and manages a nonprofit music organization with Washington and Lee classics professor Caleb Dance.