Novelist Grant Faulkner ’87 inspires nearly a half-million would-be novelists — more than 150 of them in Grinnell — to write 50,000 words during a 30-day international writing marathon, the largest event of its kind.

Faulkner is executive director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a nonprofit that promotes novel writing every November.  He encourages participants to not worry about spinning perfect prose; getting words on the page is half the battle.  “Although many of our participants are dedicated writers, we attract people from all walks of life,” he says. “They might not call themselves writers before NaNoWriMo, but they find out they can write a novel on their own terms. It’s such a magical thing,” he says, when participants discover themselves as creators.

More than 60 years after Ernest Hemingway soaked in the magic of Paris, Faulkner walked in the steps of the literary icon. He’d considered majoring in economics, but after his study-abroad experience in France he decided to major in English and dedicate himself to writing.

“Everyone has a story to tell, and the way humans make meaning of the world is through their stories,” he says. “National Novel Writing Month provides a gift that allows people to tell those stories.”

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