Janet Fitch's Blog

September 9, 2017

Say you weren't able to catch PAINT IT BLACK the MOVIE in theaters, based on my book, a dark psychodrama set in 1980 Punk Rock LA? They're releasing the film on iTUNES on SEPTEMBER 19, and other streaming platforms as of OCTOBER 3!! Remember when The Guardian called Paint It Black "Ferocious and unforgiving"? Now you can see for yourself what all the excitement is about! Congratulations to visionary director Amber Rose Tamblyn (actress, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, poet, Dark Sparkler). Support women in the arts!
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Published on September 09, 2017 12:09 • 189 views

June 3, 2017

A new book, THE REVOLUTION OF MARINA M., needs a new website! I've been keeping a blog for years, but with my new novel coming out in November, I thought it was time I assembled a grown-up website. If you're curious for a taste of Marina's world, you can read an excerpt from the novel, can see historic photos from the the Russian Revolution--there's even a picture of me at 21, back when I was studying in Russian literature in Leningrad. That was the year I decided to become a fiction writer.
So come check me out at www.janetfitchwrites.com!
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Published on June 03, 2017 11:53 • 208 views

April 13, 2017

What do you know? Got this in my inbox today--it's the 'teaser trailer' for the theatrical release of Paint It Black the Movie--opens May 19 in LA and New York... more news when I have it! Very very proud of Amber Tamblyn's directorial debut.

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Published on April 13, 2017 09:57 • 163 views • Tags: amber-tamblyn, book-adaptation, book-to-film, janet-fitch, women-directors

February 3, 2017

In a few days, I'll be heading to the monster-sized Associated Writing Programs Convention in DC, where I'll be speaking on a panel about The Shape of The Novel. The novel is such a commodious creature--it's like the dog in its spellbinding variety. If you're interested, I've posted some preliminary thoughts on my blog at

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Published on February 03, 2017 17:19 • 207 views

January 13, 2017

It's been a long and winding road, but the movie based on my novel Paint It Black--directed by Amber Tamblyn and starring Alia Shawkat, Janet McTeer and Alfred Molina--was picked up by Imagination Worldwide and will be released in April 2017. It'll be the royal treatment, theatrical release, streaming...

It's a beautiful, expressionistic treatment of the book--think David Lynch, and in certain parts, Fellini. (Tamblyn's father, Russ Tamblyn, worked on the TV show Twin Peaks--he was the psychiatrist, if you were a fan of the show-- so she grew up with the David Lynch look and style deep in her creative roots) Such an amazing thing to have an artist with a vision of her own pick up my creation and make something absolutely new and wild and breathtaking from it. I couldn't be more excited.

So keep a lookout in April, and hope you enjoy Paint it Black the Movie!
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Published on January 13, 2017 09:22 • 277 views

September 27, 2016

Hi All!
Well the fall Film Festivals are heating up, and if you've wanted to see what visual poetry the debut director Amber Tamblyn has created of my novel Paint It Black, you're going to have opportunities to see it-- it got incredible reviews after its Los Angeles Film Festival screening this spring, and now will be traveling this fall I hope to a city near you.

For those in the Bay Area, the movie will screen on October 7 & 8 at the California Film Institute's Mill Valley Film Festival.

For those in the New York area, it will screen twice at the Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock New York, October 14 and 16. http://www.woodstockfilmfestival.com

And more to come! Stay tuned.
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Published on September 27, 2016 12:34 • 257 views

April 26, 2016

I can finally say it out loud--Paint it Black the Movie will have its world premiere at Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival. Individual tickets go on sale on May 10.

It's a mind-blowing thing, to see your characters and your story--something that lived in your head alone for so many years, and then in the minds of your readers who recreate or reconstitute it as they see fit, a journey as personal as a fingerprint--now embodied, translated, filtered through another artist's vision and offered up to a broad audience, a thing in itself, related but not mere replication. What a privilege, that Tamblyn was inspired enough to pull this whole thing off. She's going to be a director to watch, I can promise you that.

I can't wait to see what you think of Paint It Black the Movie! I hope you can hit the LA Film Festival, it's scheduled for June 3, 7:30 p.m--and that it comes soon to a theater near you!
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Published on April 26, 2016 13:06 • 392 views • Tags: adaptation, film-festival, paint-it-black

February 21, 2016

I love finding out what Auden thought it was important for young scholars to know. This as "Required reading"--in a 2 credit class, one semester--he taught at the University of Michigan during WWII. A pretty hefty reading list, even if you omit Goethe and Henry Adams--Moby Dick and The Brothers Karamazov in one semester's pretty heft already. Also to do Wagner during the War...

Dante, Divine Comedy
Aeschylus the Agamemnon (Louis McNeice trans.)
Sophocles, The Antigone (Pitts or Fitzgerald trans.)
Horace Odes
Shakespeare Othello
The Tempest
Ben Jonson Volpone
Pascal Pensees
Racine Phedre
Blake Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Goethe Faust part I (and a handwritten 'omit')
Kierkegaard Fear and Loathing
Baudelaire Journals
Ibsen Peer Gynt
Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov
Rimbaud Une Saison en Enfer
Henry Adams Education of Henry Adams ('omit')
Melville Moby Dick
Rilke Journal of my Other Self
Kafka The Castle
T.S. Eliot Family Reunion

Opera Libretti
Orpheus (Gluck) Flying Dutchman (Wagner)
Don Giovanni (mozart) Tristan und Isolde (Wagner)
The Magic Flute (Mozart) Gotterdammerung (Wagner)
Fidelio (Beethoven) Carmen (Bizet
Traviata (Verdi)

Recommended Critical Reading [finally some women!]
Patterns of Culture Ruth Benedict
From the South Seas Margaret Meade
Middletown Lynd
The Heroic Age Chadwick
Epic and Romance L.P. Ker
Plato To-Day [lol] R.M.S. Corpsman
Christianity and Classical Culture C.N. Cochrane
The Allegory of Love C.S. Lewis
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Published on February 21, 2016 09:54 • 212 views

January 29, 2016

Leo Tolstoy, whose books take pride of place on every great book list, late in life compiled a list of his own--the books he considered Great, Very Great, and ‘Enormous’--divided into what he thought necessary reading for each stage of life. Authors I'd never heard of (Mrs. Henry Wood, Grigorovich, Druzhinin), tons of Rousseau and Gogol, Hugo in midlife, poetry for the busy 20-35 year olds, and unsurprisingly, a recommended turn to the philosophical and religious in later life.


• Tales from The Thousand and One Nights (public library): The 40 Thieves, Prince Qam-al-Zaman
• Pushkin’s Poems (public library): “Napoleon”
“V. great”:
• The Little Black Hen (public library) by Pogorelsky
• The story of Joseph from The Bible (public library)
• The Byliny (public library) folk tales: Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets, Alyosha Popovich

AGE 14 TO 20

• The Conquest of Mexico (public library) by William Prescott
• Tales of Good and Evil (public library) by Nikolai Gogol: “Overcoat,” “The Two Ivans,” “Nevsky Prospect”
“V. great”:
• A Sentimental Journey (public library) by Laurence Sterne
• A Hero for Our Time (public library) by Mikhail Lermontov
• The Hapless Anton by Dmitry Grigorovich
• Polinka Saks (public library) by Aleksandr Druzhinin
• A Sportsman’s Notebook (public library) by Ivan Turgenev
• Dead Souls (public library) by Nikolai Gogol
• Die Räuber (public library) by Friedrich Schiller
• Yevgeny Onegin (public library) by Alexander Pushkin
• Julie, or the New Heloise (public library) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
• The Gospel of Matthew (public library): “Sermon on the Mount”
• The Confessions (public library) by Jean Jacques-Rousseau
• Emile: Or on Education (public library) by Jean Jacques-Rousseau
• “Viy” from The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (public library)
• David Copperfield (public library) by Charles Dickens

AGE 20 TO 35

• Poems (public library) by F.T. Tyutchev
• Poems (public library) by Koltsov
• The Iliad / The Odyssey (public library) by Homer*
• Poems (public library) by Afanasy Fet
• The Symposium and The Phaedo (public library) by Plato
“V. great”:
• Hermann and Dorothea (public library) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
• Notre-Dame de Paris (public library) by Victor Hugo

AGE 35 TO 50

• The novels of Mrs. Henry Wood
• The novels of George Eliot
• The novels of Anthony Trollope
“V. great”:
• The Iliad / The Odyssey (public library) by Homer*
• The Byliny (public library)
• Xenophon’s Anabasis (public library)
• Les Misérables (public library) by Victor Hugo

AGE 50 TO 63

• Discourse on Religious Subject (public library) by Theodore Parker
• Robertson’s Sermons (public library)
“V. great”:
• The Book of Genesis (public library)
• Progress and Poverty (public library) by Henry George
• The Essence of Christianity (public library) by Ludwig Feuerbach
• The Complete Gospels* (public library)
• Pensées (public library) by Blaise Pascal
• Epictetus
• Confucius and Mencius
• The Lalita-Vistara: Or Memoirs Of The Early Life Of Sakya Sinha (public library) by Rajendralala Mitra

Source: Brain Pickings blog -- a fount of fascination.
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Published on January 29, 2016 09:29 • 268 views

January 11, 2016

The death of David Bowie's hitting me hard... In looking around online today, I stumbled upon a list of his 100 favorite books, and naturally, I thought it an appropriate tribute to post it here. What more faithful portrait of a person, his tastes and aesthetics, than his favorite books.

Interviews With Francis Bacon by David Sylvester
Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
Room At The Top by John Braine
On Having No Head by Douglass Harding
Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
City Of Night by John Rechy
The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Iliad by Homer
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin
Inside The Whale And Other Essays by George Orwell
Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
Halls Dictionary Of Subjects And Symbols In Art by James A. Hall
David Bomberg by Richard Cork
Blast by Wyndham Lewis
Passing by Nella Larson
Beyond The Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto
The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
In Bluebeard’s Castle by George Steiner
Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
The Divided Self by R. D. Laing
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Infants Of The Spring by Wallace Thurman
The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf
The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter
The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodieby Muriel Spark
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Herzog by Saul Bellow
Puckoon by Spike Milligan
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima
Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler
The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot
McTeague by Frank Norris
Money by Martin Amis
The Outsider by Colin Wilson
Strange People by Frank Edwards
English Journey by J.B. Priestley
A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Day Of The Locust by Nathanael West
1984 by George Orwell
The Life And Times Of Little Richard by Charles White
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn
Mystery Train by Greil Marcus
Beano (comic, ’50s)
Raw (comic, ’80s)
White Noise by Don DeLillo
Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm And Blues And The Southern Dream Of Freedom by Peter Guralnick
Silence: Lectures And Writing by John Cage
Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley
The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock And Roll by Charlie Gillete
Octobriana And The Russian Underground by Peter Sadecky
The Street by Ann Petry
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
Last Exit To Brooklyn By Hubert Selby, Jr.
A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn
The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz
The Coast Of Utopia by Tom Stoppard
The Bridge by Hart Crane
All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos
Tales Of Beatnik Glory by Ed Saunders
The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
Nowhere To Run The Story Of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey
Before The Deluge by Otto Friedrich
Sexual Personae: Art And Decadence From Nefertiti To Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia
The American Way Of Death by Jessica Mitford
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Teenage by Jon Savage
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Viz (comic, early ’80s)
Private Eye (satirical magazine, ’60s – ’80s)
Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara
The Trial Of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
Maldodor by Comte de Lautréamont
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders by Lawrence Weschler
Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Transcendental Magic, Its Doctine and Ritual by Eliphas Lévi
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Leopard by Giusseppe Di Lampedusa
Inferno by Dante Alighieri
A Grave For A Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno
The Insult by Rupert Thomson
In Between The Sheets by Ian McEwan
A People’s Tragedy by Orlando Figes
Journey Into The Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg
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Published on January 11, 2016 10:12 • 496 views