Professor WLP Jon Papernick’s new novel set for release in January 2022


A new novel by writing, literature and publishing professor Jon Papernick follows a married couple as they navigate their polyamorous relationship and Jewish customs, and is expected to be released early next year.

Papernick started to write I Am My Beloved just before his last book, The book of stone: a novel, was published in the summer of 2015. It took over four years and five drafts until I Am My Beloved has been completed.

“Sometimes the writing went really fast, other times I would get stuck and not touch the thing for months,” Papernick said in an interview.

The novel examines marital struggles in a new light when the two protagonists engage in an open relationship. In addition to other marital struggles, the characters struggle with fertility issues while remaining within the confines of Jewish law.

“The book completely captures who we are now as Jews and how we define family, tradition and identity,” said Michelle Caplan, editor-in-chief of the publisher of Papernick’s previous novel.

The title, I Am My Beloved, comes from Song of Songs, one of the last books of the Hebrew Bible. Traditionally it is translated as “I am my beloved”, however, Papernick dropped the apostrophe to give the phrase new meaning.

“The removal of the apostrophe means everything,” Papernick said. “It implies that you are your beloved ones.”

During the craft I am my beloved, Papernick explored different attachment styles through the lens of attachment theory, which describes the various bonds formed during early childhood, such as secure and insecure attachment.

Although it can be assumed that a published author is always confident in his writing skills, Papernick faced doubts while writing. I Am My Beloved. He wondered if he was skilled enough to write the story.

“Sometimes I have a hard time not comparing my current draft to my last published article,” Papernick said. “You have to keep an inner dialogue with yourself, reminding yourself that this is normal and that a first draft is not supposed to be perfect. Put something on paper and improve it.

While writing, Papernick found that the exchanges between the characters went smoothly, especially when there were conflicts resolved through dialogue.

Photo: Courtesy of Jon Papernick
Professor WLP Jon Papernick

“Writing fictional characters is like having a conversation with yourself, because you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and have two opposing points of view, integrating them smoothly,” Papernick said. . “I see parts of myself in all of my characters, however, I resonate the most with Shira and write the rest of this novel through her perspective.”

Last summer, Papernick sat down and wrote the first 90 pages of the sequel to I Am My Beloved, told from Shira’s perspective.

“I’ve always believed in this story and saw it as a series, and I hope readers fall in love with the characters,” Caplan said. “Papernick understands the dynamics of people in complex ways, which gives him a strong prose capacity. “

While many of his other books deal with complex topics such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this story takes a much lighter approach. Caplan encouraged him to experiment with a different style of writing and to present his line with a love story.

“I had asked Jon to try to write a modern account of Enemies, a love story, but I had no idea how gorgeous it would be, said Caplan.

Caplan has given Papernick’s career a tremendous boost over the years.

“Michelle always made me feel like I could be the writer I wanted to be,” Papernick said.

Papernick grew up Jewish in Toronto, Ontario, a city with a large Jewish community, and his Jewish identity has influenced many of his books, including I am my beloved.

Papernick has been teaching Emerson for 15 years now, however, he still sees himself more as a mentor and artist than a college professor.

“Being around young people and hearing new words helps me stay young and up to date,” Papernick said. “While it can be difficult to write in a busy semester, I love teaching Emerson. “

During the pandemic, Papernick focused less on writing and more on being a good teacher. Switching to online classes in the middle of the semester made her want to connect with her students.

“I really wanted to be there for them and be the best teacher I could be,” Papernick said. “I understood that we are living in unprecedented times and that we are also juggling online learning. I wanted to help them [in] as I could while we sailed in quarantine. “

Papernick hopes readers will understand the complex issues addressed in the novel, as well as a new perspective on a non-traditional relationship.

“I hope to shed light on an unfamiliar situation in the most humane way possible,” Papernick said.

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