The Influences Project:Katherine Sharpe on Four Hundred Words

What book/writer/publisher/publication has most influenced your own writing and publishing efforts?

Katherine Sharpe: I remember being a teenager and first starting going to local indie rock shows. The culture of the shows and the sense of community really attracted me. I wanted to get involved, but even then I was aware of having zero musical talent. I was good at writing, though, and I fantasized about a world where small, local publishers could do for writing what indie labels had done for rock, where the culture of writing and reading could approximate the culture of music…

Over the past five or six years, I’ve noticed things trending in the way I dreamed of then. Writing will never be rock ‘n’ roll, but I’m fascinated by the McSweeney’s phenomenon, and its many spin-offs: the books, the tutoring centers, The Believer. Authors have gone on book tours for a long time, but lately I’ve noticed writing-related tours undertaken with a more celebratory and collaborative spirit, like Found Magazine’s tours, or the Projet Mobilivre/Bookmobile Project, whose coordinators pilot an old airstream trailer full of zines and artist books to workshops and other events all over North America. That kind of innovation excites me — new combinations that make print culture a more immediate and communal experience.

Read the full interview with Sharpe here.