Why does Brooklyn inspire so many young writers?

For one thing, it's cheap.
  • Transcript


Question: Why does Brooklyn inspire so many young writers?

Khakpour:    There’s definitely been a lot of talk of the young Brooklyn writer.  And there’s now been the backlash for sure.  You know I got called a Brooklyn writer not too long ago, and I was torn between a sense of pride or a sense of embarrassment, because now it’s become such a thing.  I think we, again, have to think of why that phenomenon exists, right?  Brooklyn was initially a cheap neighborhood for writers to live.  And you could have space.  And you could, probably most importantly, have your own office, which is what I have now in my current place in Brooklyn.  I have a nice office.  I wouldn’t have been able to get that in Manhattan at the modest price that I’m paying.  So there’s those considerations.  But then, you know, you get enough artists and writers moving to a neighborhood, the thing begins to brand itself – probably originating in a sense of pride, right?  People saying, “Well yeah,” you know, “We’re Brooklyn writers and this is our thing,” and you know trying to defend themselves.  And then it becomes a sort of embarrassing brand.  So yeah there’s times . . .  You have to sort of say it with a smile, you know, that you’re a Brooklyn writer.  But that’s probably gonna change because Brooklyn is getting awfully expensive – to the point where it’s definitely in competition with Manhattan, especially the savory parts.  So I don’t know.  I wonder in a few years are we gonna have the Queens writer, (01:32:49) you know?  And then far into the future it will be the Staten Island writer, you know?  It’s scary.  But what I don’t like about it is that it takes so much attention from all the writers that don’t even live in New York.  That’s one thing about the book tour that was so interesting to me, and about the friendships I have forged with the other writers who live all over this country.  And you know I think I always thought that as a writer you needed to live here.  And even recently I thought it’s a good idea to be near my editor, or my agent.  And you know it’s sort of a fallacy.  So I don’t like the feeling that . . .  I don’t like spreading the sort of idea that writers need to live, if not in Manhattan, then right by it.  Because the beauty is now you can, for the most part, live everywhere . . . anywhere you want.  But I do love Brooklyn, and I like . . . I like my new neighborhood in Kensington. There’s a lot of . . .  There’s a very vibrant Middle Eastern community there that I can spy on, which is fun.  And you get a great diversity in Brooklyn, and it’s just affordable and it’s beautiful.  So a formula works I guess.