Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Kristopher Jansma’s First Novel: The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards


KJansma 175x247Kristopher Jansma, professor of academic and creative writing at Manhattanville College, is coming out with his first novel The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, set to release on Thursday, March 21, 2012.

The upcoming novel has already garnered much enthusiasm and critical acclaim prior to its release. It received a starred review on Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly magazine highlighted its review for the novel, calling it an “arresting debut.” It has also been named a Barnes and Noble Discover Pick for Summer 2013 and an Indie Next List book for April. named Jansma one of the "Fifty Up and Coming New York Culture Makers to Watch for 2013." The list of accolades goes on, including a 4.29/5 stars on popular aggregate website

“I wanted it to be a book from the beginning that really literary people, who have read a lot of other books, would enjoy. There are a lot of references in the books to other novelists and writers,” said Jansma. “At the same time, I wanted people who aren’t big readers to still enjoy it and not feel like they were missing out. I think it at least has succeeded so far in appealing to both camps.”

The Unchangable Spots of Leopards is the gripping tale of a young unnamed narrator and his best friend Julian, as they move through life aspiring to be writers. As the narrator falls in love with Julian’s best friend Evelyn, the novel begins to explore the nature of truth and storytelling.

According to Jansma, the unreliable narrator is loosely inspired by the narrator of Henry James’ The Aspern Papers, a book he often teaches in his Manhattanville classes.

“A lot of the inspirations came from stuff that I was teaching here at Manhattanville. I was really luck to be working here and teaching great students who gave me a lot of ideas and interesting discussions in class,” Jansma said.

His next project is his second novel, at the moment titled The Murphys’ Odyssey: a book about a young group of friends trying to make a living in New York City and dealing with a sudden event.

Jansma will be reading excerpts from The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards on Wednesday, March 27 at the Manhattanville College Library, where he actually wrote many parts of the book.

“I am really happy that we get to do our reading in the library and I get to say thank you to all the students,” he said.

Photo credit: Michael Levy