Jim Kempner

Braving the elements

A year after I arrived in the US as a Cuban political refugee, I enrolled at Northeastern University. Professor Robbins, my freshman English teacher, suggested I switch majors, from chemical engineering to English, because I “could write.” I told him that I had to make a living, but I would write at night. He said it would never happen.

I’ve tried to look him up to tell him he was right. I earned a Chem E degree at NU and then one at at MIT, went to work for Rohm and Haas where I labored–all of it in Research, much of it as an executive–until I took early retirement. To write.

I’ve written a couple of novels, a number of short stories (which have garnered one first and two second places at the 2010 and 2011 Philadelphia Writers Conference), a MG book with two co-authors and a bunch of short pieces for local publications. Off and on I also work on a memoir spanning 1957-61, the two years before and the two years after Castro came to power. Seems to be what everyone wants me to write.

Along the way (actually before graduating from NU) I married Ruth. Our three children, Evan, Joanna and Michelle are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. And now Evan–with Supriya’s help–has given me Sona and Thara while Joanna, with a contribution from Joe has given me Noah and Tessa, and Michelle gave me this blog.

  1. December 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Hello Jim,
    Barbara Warren turned me on to you and I yet have to thank her! Love your style and find your writing highly musical and spare; reminded me of Malamud and Keillor, both of whom I like, albeit for different reasons.
    Let me ad my voice to the chorus: I want to read the Cuban memoir! I loved the Egg and suspect the Memoir will be filled with similar stories.
    All the best and easy writing!
    Ilya Genin

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