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On Dedicating Pyres to My Grandfather
  • Derek Nikitas, Eastern Kentucky University

I take an unusual interest in the dedications at the beginnings of novels. I don’t skip that page like most people probably do; in fact, I spend time ruminating on the circumstances that led to the dedication. Wives, children, parents—usually pretty obvious. Sometimes the author will supply an explanation, but often a cryptic “for Jane” will be all the reader has for clues. Months later I’ll be reading an interview with the author and something he says will make a connection back to that dedication. I try to guess, often with scant clues, why the author chose his/her particular dedicatee. A mystery even before the story begins. Prolific authors get to pick a lot more dedicatees, so eventually they get around to editors, agents, random acquaintances, pets. Debut authors like me, though, we have a tougher job of it. We’ve no way of knowing if our pens will dry up, our minds go dark, if we’ll ever write another book. Our first dedication has to count.

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Citation Information
Derek Nikitas. "On Dedicating Pyres to My Grandfather" (2006)
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