This September, as we gear up for the celebration of our 2012 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award honorees, we’ll be highlighting guests posts from our pool of talented authors.

johngreenToday, John Green, the National Author Winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Paper Towns,” “Looking for Alaska,” and “An Abundance of Katherines,”
shares his thoughts on being a writer in Indiana. Learn more about John Green and his writing at And be sure to meet him in person on Saturday, September 29th at the 2012 Indy Author Fair.

Writing in the Heartland

Most of my writer friends live in New York City. I lived there, too, for a time, while my wife was in graduate school. It was exciting to be able to take the subway to my publisher’s offices, to write in cafes with writers I admired, and to feel like I was living in the heart of the American book world. For the first time in my life, I felt like a popular kid.

So when my wife got a job at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I felt a bit of trepidation. I was born here (although we moved away when I was an infant), and I had fond memories of visiting Indianapolis to see my grandparents as a child. But it felt (and it is) very far from New York. Sure, Kurt Vonnegut was from here. But he left.

Little did I know, I’d won the lottery. Indianapolis turned out to be the perfect city for me, and ultimately the ideal setting for my most recent novel, “The Fault in Our Stars.” It’s an American city–which, yes, means a lot of chain restaurants and strip malls, but it also means ambition and generosity and passion. Ours is a city that loves its open-wheeled racing but also loves its arts and culture. We have one of the great art museums in the country, an excellent writing MFA program at Butler, and wonderful libraries. In fact, I wrote many parts of my most recent two books in libraries here in Indianapolis. We also have a rich literary tradition and is home to many great working writers today, from Meg Cabot to Michael Dahlie to my fellow award winner this year, Barbara Shoup.

Indianapolis isn’t New York, and that’s precisely what makes it a good home for a writer. I now get to live in the America I write about, the sprawling and complex places that reflect so much about our sprawling and complex selves. I often used to say I can write anywhere. And I can, I suppose. But I’m happiest, and most productive, writing here in the great state of Indiana.

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