“Some of the early stuff — it wasn’t good, it wasn’t publishable,” Quick said. “Since the Oscars my agents are always reminding me I’m a brand. That’s a corporate word for what I do, but I do think as you publish more books people come to know who you are and what you’re about. For me, it was about finding my voice, figuring out who I am, what I believe in and what stories I want to tell.”
Not lost on anyone who read or caught the film version of “Silver Linings Playbook” is Quick’s desire to tell stories that delicately portray characters who exhibit signs of mental illness or are in the midst of mental crisis.
Having worked at a mental lockdown facility after graduating from college, and having suffered bouts of depression and anxiety in his own life, Quick said he didn’t intentionally set out to dispel myths and create better understanding of these issues. But removing the stigma associated with labels like “bipolar” and “manic depressive” is important to him, so his portrayal usually resonates with people.
As he makes his way to Newburyport to participate in tomorrow night’s opening celebration for the festival, Quick fully expects audiences to inquire more about the mental health issues he touches upon in “The Silver Linings Playbook” than on his transition from unknown writer to Hollywood hit.
That’s how it’s been at virtually every press junket, film screening and book tour since “Silver Linings” went viral, he added.
Quick will host a discussion on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Old South Church on Federal Street called “The Writer’s Perspective: An Honest Conversation About Mental Health,” with poet Evan Roskos.
“I went around the country for six months promoting and talking to people about the book and movie, but 80 percent of what we talked about was mental health,” he said. “I found it very heartening when I would go to screenings, inevitably the questions I got were from people really hungry to talk about mental health.”
IF YOU GO What: Newburyport Literary Festival opening ceremony When: Tomorrow, 6:30 p.m. Where: Firehouse Center for the Arts More: Free to attend. Newburyport High School English Department chair Tom Abrams' creative writing students will participate in a panel discussion with Matthew Quick. Following the event, a dinner reception with the authors will be held at Nicholson Hall, $50. For a complete schedule of events for the festival, visit www.newburyportliteraryfestival.org.