When Larry Duberstein was a kid, he wrote short stories and even created his own magazines. During his college days he continued with short story writing, then delved into poems too.
“I’m a writer,” he said. “It’s just who I am.”
By the late 1980s, Duberstein was an acclaimed author, although it wasn’t necessarily expected of him. Instead, “I think everyone always thought I’d become a lawyer,” he quipped, similar to his father and aunt.
“But from a young age, I just put pen to paper,” he said.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and raised in Connecticut, Duberstein has lived in Hancock for nearly 20 years with his partner, Lee Brown. His home is a former auto repair shop that he redesigned, retrofitted and rebuilt — it now includes a writing studio as well as a woodworking shop where he’s worked on things such as kitchen remodeling.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Wesleyan University and a master’s in American studies from Harvard University. In the 1980s, long before his relocation to New Hampshire, Duberstein became a world-renowned novelist.
He’s penned nine novels over the past 30 years, beginning with one that served as his college senior thesis. After that, “The Marriage Hearse” was published in 1987. Centered around a man struggling with marriage and related issues, it was called “one of the funniest, smartest and most generous novels about marriage,” by a New York Times book reviewer.
Another of his novels, “The Mt. Monadnock Blues,” was published in 2003. Set in southwestern New Hampshire, the novel focuses on a family’s trials, tribulations and family bond.
Duberstein’s most recent novel — “Five Bullets” — was published in 2014. It’s an historical novel that tells the story of a Jewish Holocaust survivor who ultimately relocated to New York after World War II to start a new life. He said this is essentially the story of his uncle’s life — he notes this was the easiest yet most difficult novel.
All of Duberstein’s works are different. He said this is crucial for distinct characters and stories to shine.
“Every time [the novels] have different slants,” he said. “They all need to be different voices. The characters have varied a lot. From a psychoanalyst to an actor to a Holocaust survivor and others, I make those different voices come through.”
He has also published a number of short stories, including “Nobody’s Jaw” (1979) and “Eccentric Circles” (1993), and has always loved writing poetry.
His talents have been recognized locally, most recently with a 2020 Ewing Arts Awards win for literature.
“It’s really nice to be recognized,” he said. “It’s great to honor the arts. This is a nice awards program that honors so many great creative minds. the Monadnock region is chock full of writers and artists and culture. There are so many talented people here.”
Duberstein noted that awards programs such as this help shine a light on the importance of arts and culture in society; so many people don’t know about the great things people are doing locally. “Where would any of us be without arts and culture?”
Positivity like this is so needed right now, he added, as the country deals with strife and unrest.
“There are a lot of things happening in this world right now that are disheartening. It’s hard to look away sometimes, kind of like going by a bad car accident,” he said. “Things like the Ewing awards and other upbeat stories are so great. It helps you see that all is not lost in the world.”