"Many of my publications originate in a conversation - a probing question, an enigmatic puzzle - or in a chance connection."

April 29, 2021

AUCA Assistant Professor, scholar, and book writer James Plumtree shares his features from the writing process, feelings, and challenges he faces while publishing book. Please read an interview below:

  • Could you tell us about your book writing process?

One feature of my writing process that I would like to share is the social aspect. Many of my publications originate in a conversation - a probing question, an enigmatic puzzle - or in a chance connection. The clarity, and quality, of the writing and revision of the work is also greatly shaped by the input of others. Though the name at the top of the work might give the impression of a solitary person working alone, there is a community of scholars, archivists, librarians, researchers, translators, past and present, living in the footnotes and acknowledgments.


  • Do you have a special feeling while writing a book?

The concentration and focus can sometimes be Zen-like.

  • Who is your main or first reviewer?

My foremost reviewers are my parents and a friend who is an analytical philosopher; they provide honest and helpful feedback. I have also been fortunate to receive constructive comments and questions from sharp students and supportive editors.

  • What kind of challenges did you face while publishing your book?

“Go, litel boke, go, litel myn tragedye”: the amount of hidden and often unacknowledged labour involved is staggering. The time from submission to print can burden your patience – one study of mine took eight years to finally be published – particularly since so much substantial work often never reaches publication. My forthcoming book on Manas, I hope, will avoid this fate.

  • What are your reading preferences? Who is your favorite author?

Voracious. The current book I am repeatedly recommending is Qian Zhongshu’s Fortress Besieged.

  • Any special wishes for your readers?

Qian Zhongshu’s Fortress Besieged; it really is that good.

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