Purchase College Professor Warren Lehrer’s latest book, A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, was just named Outstanding Book of the Year, Most Original Concept by Independent Publisher. Dubbed the IPPY Awards, they recognize excellence in independent publishing. In January 2014, the College Book Art Association (CBAA) awarded the book Best in Show in its juried exhibition.
Lehrer, professor of Art+Design in graphic design, is widely recognized as a pioneer in the fields of visual literature and design authorship. Nine years in the making, A Life in Books is what Lehrer refers to as an “illuminated novel.”
It’s a memoir of Bleu Mobley, fictional author, journalist, college professor, experimental novelist, and pop-culture pundit, who is whispering his entire life story into a recording device from inside the jail cell he occupies for failing to reveal the name of a confidential source. The autobiography/apologia is “illuminated” by the book jackets, catalog copy, and reviews of the 101 books he has written. Excerpts from 34 of those volumes serve to flesh out his story further.
While the physical book sits at the center, several offshoots of A Life in Books are in the works. The New York State Council on the Arts awarded Lehrer over $20,000 for the development and production of an enhanced e-novel and multi-media performance, “to take advantage of the tablet as a new medium for storytelling.” It will include animation, video, audio, annotations, galleries, an interactive timeline, and crowd-sourcing components.
Another exciting aspect of the e-novel project is the ability to crowd-source the completion of Bleu Mobley’s books based on excerpts provided in the novel. Lehrer invites writers of all stripes to submit short stories that will eventually be published as an e-book. Click here and then click “contest.”
A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley was published by Goff Books.
Follow links below to hear interviews with Lehrer on NPR-affiliate KCRW’s Bookwormand on NPR’s Studio 360.