Summer Re-run: Meg Wolitzer's Answer to the Little Black Dress

New York Times Bestselling author Meg Wolitzer had just completed a book tour for her novel The Uncoupling when she wrote this.  I am utterly charmed by her approach to touring with her book, specifically her wardrobe coping mechanism!  Thank you so very much, Meg, for graciously allowing me to share your post on Blurb.  --Sarah

Meg Wolitzer writes:
This morning I am heading home from Seattle, having completed my book tour mission, which I chose to accept.  All the people who met me at the various readings and interviews had no idea that they were seeing a slightly unclean version of me, since my little black reading jacket held up remarkably well and gave the illusion of cleanness all the way from Atlanta to Washington State.  But truly, a writer on, say, day three of her book tour is just a few steps up from someone who lives in her car.  I decided to go for the rumpled but brainy look, figuring that if it works for Cynthia Ozick, it can work for me too.
This black reading jacket is indestructible, absorbing Pinot Noir stains (reception in Portland after reading at Powell’s) and ink stains (someone’s leaky pen after a reading in California) alike, and serving as a kind of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat garment (you see that I take every opportunity to put in a reference to Donny Osmond, the inexplicable crush of my formative years) for me as a writer.  When I wear it, I feel strangely calm.  Regardless of the crowd size, be it big or small, I am happy to read to them from my novel.  Honestly, one night I decided to switch things around and wear something sort of nubby and beige; I made it as far as the hotel elevators when I suddenly freaked, turned around, ran back to the hotel room, and changed into the black reading jacket.  Things went well.
I have no faith in, or interest in, the talismanic.  But I do think that the black reading jacket is to the writer (or at least this writer) what the little black dress is to any character on “Sex and the City.”  When I wear it I am protected from the fact that, as people sometimes say, Americans don’t read fiction as much as they used to.  When I wear it I feel that they do.  When I wear it I am certain that fiction rules.  In this jacket I live in a kind of Fictionlandia, where everyone either wears their own black reading jacket, or holds a ragged copy of a beloved novel, and goes running after their favorite writer to have her sign it, even with a leaky pen.
Okay, home now.

Sarah: Would it be bad luck to send it to the dry cleaner afterward?  Can its power survive?
Meg: I really, really think the dry cleaner is the thing to do.
Thank you, Meg!  
More of Meg Wolitzer's book tour wisdom can be found on her blog, Written on Ambien.  The Uncoupling was published on April 5th and can be found at your neighborhood independent bookstore!


  1. I love it that authors are still out there willing to do the book tour thing. Personally I would find it scary and daunting as a writer, but as a reader I LOVE to see an author "in the flesh". For some reason, it brings the book to life in a way that the author's name only cannot do. Congrats on your tour, Meg!

  2. Brilliant idea--a black jacket is classy, universally flattering, and so much more comfortable than a little black dress.

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Uncoupling. Fran Heller brought back visions of my own h.s. drama coach (who thankfully did not possess any ties to Lysistrata). I have been recommending Meg Wolitzer's previous novel, The Ten-Year Nap, to everyone who will listen since I read it last year.

  3. Thanks to both of you. I believe that novelists sometimes need to wear the sandwich-board for fiction in these non-fiction times... --


  4. I will wear an actual sandwich-board on book tour if it will help fiction's cause. (And the blog post covering that bookstore appearance will require photography.)



  5. Love the post, Meg...funny and clever. I am a believer in the rumpled and brainy work's for me. And had to write down your coined term: "Fictionlandia"

  6. Thanks, Nancy. Rumpled and brainy works for me...

  7. I love the idea of 'Fictionlandia'--what a lovely place!

    And I'm glad Meg found the perfect wardrobe piece to work for her!

  8. I just purchased The Ten-Year Nap, looking forward to reading it, possibly in a black reading jacket.