Diana Nakeeb


I was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn (NY), as World War II was ending. After the demobilization of my father and cancer death of my grandfather (who had come from Lithuania to open a brewery, closed for Prohibition in 1920), my orphaned parents moved to a housing project in Brownsville, Brooklyn. It ensured a roof over the heads of my brother, sister and me. My favorite childhood hobby was searching for "good places," which eventually led me to Staten Island. However, there are still chunks of Brooklyn deep in my heart, reflected in my comedic sci-fi novel, "Venus Turning."
Sometimes things are so bad, they're good. Such was my alma mater, P.S. 125 in Brownsville. The 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-grade sewing lessons stand out as a particular highlight. The school did not clutter up my head with excessive knowledge, which left more room to do well in college. Down the street from elementary school was a splendid public library, and I read novels non-stop. After all, fiction (and its extensions -- movies and plays and dramatic music) is for most of us the teacher that helps us to make sense of reality itself.
My high school was Thomas Jefferson in East New York, known as the alma mater of Danny Kaye. Though its glory days were over, I was still lucky to be there when I was: my art teacher, Don Fabricant, and creative-writing teacher, Benjamin Goodman, attained some national recognition for their original work, and their colleagues also had high aspirations. My family moved out of Brownsville for my senior year, when I transferred to Tilden High School (still in Brooklyn), and being fifteen, I dreamed intensely about slipping away after graduation. However, the Tilden faculty made sure that everyone applied to the City University of New York; and so, I ended up with having to accept my acceptance at tuition-free Hunter College in Manhattan. Unable to find a summer job, in despair I looked for the summer course at Hunter that promised to be the most fun. To a fiction enthusiast, that was Intensive Russian. So began my careers in translating, researching, and ultimately teaching.
At first, in order to acquire a broad background for teaching -- but later, because I came under a kind of enchantment, -- I remained in graduate school at Columbia's Russian Institute and their Slavic Languages department for seven years.
When finally pried loose from grad school, I taught at William Paterson College (NJ), Pace University (NYC), and Yeshiva University (NYC), where I started up Russian and East-European-related programs. Free at last! I am now retired.

Smashwords Interview

What are you working on now?
I've just finished a short story on a subject that I think affects everyone, entitled "In the Kingdom of the Gargoyles." The introductory period of free distribution is now over, and it is available on Smashwords for the most modest possible price!
Who are your favorite authors?
Different authors have been my favorites at different times of my life. Growing up, I was in awe of the major American poets, particularly: Edwin Arlington Robinson, Emily Dickinson, and of course, everybody's favorite, Edgar Allen Poe. As a teen, my attention was divided between Sci-Fi (Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, and the whole marvelous moosh of pop culture, from comics to films: I never met a superhero/heroine that I didn't like), and -- in American literature, Henry James. How's that for a schizophrenic background? As an adult, I learned to sample translations from every country and culture. I have yet to find a country that has not contributed something priceless, to the world, through its literature. As a college student, perhaps I had a particular taste for French, Russian, and German authors, enough to give me the strength to persist until I could read them in the original texts. And at the moment? There's so much competition among contemporary authors, from Annie Proulx (Brokeback Mountain, The Shipping News) to Khaled Hosseini (The Kite-Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns) and Hector Tobar (The Barbarian Nurseries) -- it would take all day to name just the totally outstanding. It always amuses me when scientists reveal that they are jealous of "Nobel Prize Winners," whom they can count (somewhat grumpily) on their fingers. In literature, there is such an abundance of good writers, from whom I have received so much enjoyment and education, it's too exhausting even to think about, let alone envy.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Diana Nakeeb online


Venus Turning
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 25,810. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
"Venus Turning" is a novel of retro-futurism. It features scientists, billionaires, politicians, and just-plain citizens trying to jump into the future before it overtakes them. What will the Clintons be like 12 years from now? What will your pets be like 12 years from now? This sci-fi adventure, which travels from the transcendental to the hilarious, has something for everyone.

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