Posts Tagged: historical fiction

VISIBLE: Women Writers of Color: Brooke C. Obie

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Brooke C. Obie discusses the historical basis for her debut novel, Book of Addis, writing to dismantle white supremacy, and why Black speculative fiction is integral to her survival. ...more

The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #96: Donna Baier Stein

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Colorado’s Baby Doe Tabor was a bad ass. Born in 1854, ‘Lizzie,’ as she was known, bucked social norms of her day. In an era when silver miners believed it bad luck to even speak to a woman before descending into the mines, Lizzie worked alongside her male counterparts in the damp, dark underground caverns.

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The Human Cost: Discussing Political Storytelling with Olivia Kate Cerrone

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Olivia Kate Cerrone discusses her novella The Hunger Saint and the significance of historical fiction. ...more

Every Woman Is a Nation unto Herself: A Conversation with Sabina Murray

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Sabina Murray discusses the novel Valiant Gentleman, writing characters that are fundamentally different from herself, and confronting issues of colonization. ...more

The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #86: Max Allan Collins

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In April, the Mystery Writers of America named Max Allan Collins a Grand Master, the organization’s peer-voted lifetime achievement award. Collins has had a prolific and often eclectic career. The Iowa Writers Workshop graduate has written more than one hundred books, has had a long career as a comics writer including, most famously, the Road to Perdition saga, has been a screenwriter and director of fiction and documentary films, written audio dramas and nonfiction books.

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The Rumpus Interview with George Saunders

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George Saunders discusses his new (and first) novel Lincoln in the Bardo, Donald Trump, and a comprehensive theory of literature. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Lucy Jane Bledsoe

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Lucy Jane Bledsoe discusses her latest book, A Thin Bright Line, uncovering the remarkable story of her aunt, and illuminating history through the lens of imagination. ...more

An Ultimate Illustrated Fantasy Guide of Gilmore Girls Mashups

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HOW AWESOME WOULD THESE MASHUPS BE? Oh well. Maybe next year. ...more

The Big Idea: Dawn Tripp

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Dawn Tripp discusses Georgia, her new novel based on Georgia O’Keeffe’s life, O’Keeffe’s distancing herself from feminism, and balancing biography with fiction. ...more

Sex, Money, and Art Forgery

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“Novels about psychically and sexually burdened paintings have a rich literary pedigree,” writes UNC Professor of Art History Maggie Cao for Public Books. Cao’s essay tackles the subject of forgery, which puts “the intimate, almost magical role that works of art play in people’s emotional and erotic lives” into conversation with modern market forces that have, as of late, transformed art collectors from neurotic worshippers of art to high-tech investors.

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The Rumpus Interview with Rachel Hall

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Rachel Hall discusses her debut collection Heirlooms, her mother’s experience growing up in a French Jewish family during World War II, and crossing genre borders in her writing. ...more

History as Structure

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In a Q & A with debut novelist Yaa Gyasi on the ZYZZYVA blog, Ismail Muhammad asks Gyasi to expound on narrative structure and the far-reaching effects of the international slave trade:

I realized that I was interested in tracking how slavery, colonialism, and institutionalized racism work over a very long period of time—not just the beginning and end, but the movement from the beginning to the end.

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Imagining the Past

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Over at the New Yorker, Lucy Ives writes about how some recent works of fiction challenge conventional definitions of historical fiction by “offer[ing] a past of competing perspectives, of multiple voices.” Citing works by Danielle Dutton, Marlon James, and John Keene, Ives notes:

These fictions do not focus on fact but on fact’s record, the media by which we have any historical knowledge at all.

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The Lives of Others

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We’ve always been fascinated by the possibility of understanding the person behind the work. For Lit Hub, Heller McAlpin examines a long tradition of writing about writers:

There’s a special frisson of pleasure in reading about writers’ early struggles when you know what the future holds for them—which in the case of most of these authors is posthumous literary acclaim beyond their wildest dreams.

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Forgotten Females

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Jillian Cantor explains what drew her to the women in history, Margot Frank and Ethel Rosenberg, that she wrote her two novels on. Cantor is intrigued by women in history whose stories are lost or forgotten, and uses her writing to tell their stories:

…I began to think about what it might’ve been like to a be a wife and mother in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as well as what it might have been like for Ethel to be arrested, jailed, and executed for a crime I came to believe she was innocent of.

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The Rumpus Interview with Alexander Chee

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Alexander Chee talks about opera, the Wild West, and the charismatic women of 19th-century France that inspired his new novel The Queen of the Night. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Danielle Dutton

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Danielle Dutton discusses her forthcoming novel Margaret the First, the research behind writing historical fiction, and how being the editor of a small press has influenced her own work. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Susan Barker

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Susan Barker discusses her third novel, The Incarnations, writing dialogue in a second language, the Opium Wars and Chinese history, and the years of research that went into her book. ...more

Writing Through History

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Ottessa Moshfegh views the past as a sort of fiction—she didn’t live it, so in a way, it is fiction to her. This view informs both her novels, which are full of deeply flawed characters and rich details. 

But writing Eileen, set in 1960s New England, was fraught for the author:

I had to deal with what it meant to have my name on something, what it means to be a voice in the world, and the kind of voice I wanted to be.

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The Rumpus Interview with Brian Shawver

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Author Brian Shawver talks about his new book, Danger on the Page, his novel Aftermath, MFA programs, and why it’s a good thing that writing never stops being hard work. ...more

The Rumpus Book Club Chat with Steve Stern

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The Rumpus Book Club chats with Steve Stern about his new novel The Pinch, about what it means for Jews to be "people of the book," and how fiction and history can be entwined in entertaining and challenging ways. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Joshua Mohr and Janis Cooke Newman

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Authors Joshua Mohr and Janis Cooke Newman talk with one another about their new novels, All This Life and A Master Plan for Rescue, respectively. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Kate Walbert

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Author Kate Walbert talks about her new novel, The Sunken Cathedral, about the way cities change over time, and her approach to using footnotes in fiction. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Damien Ober

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Damien Ober discusses the Declaration of Independence, Internet viruses in the eighteenth century, and his new novel Doctor Benjamin Franklin's Dream America. ...more

When in Rome

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Dig historical fiction? In the forthcoming issue of The New York Review of Books, Daniel Mendelsohn revisits Augustus, the last novel written by John Williams, author of the literary cult favorite, Stoner.  “Like the best works of historical fiction about the classical world,” Mendelsohn writes, “Augustus suggests the past without presuming to create it.” 

Originally published in 1972, Augustus will be re-released by NYRB Classics on August 19th, the two thousandth anniversary of the emperor’s death.

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