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More Information

Website

http://www.lectures.org/season/literary_arts_series.php?id=268

Quotes & Highlights

Elizabeth Strout is of a generation of American writers who, thankfully, persist in writing engaging and engrossing literature in the face of the usual and occasionally unusual insuperable odds.”  -–T_he Morning News _
Visit Elizabeth Strout’s website.

Description

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, the bestselling Abide With Me, and the award-winning Amy and Isabelle, all set in New England. She explores family dynamics, small-town gossip, and experiences of love, loss, and grief. Strout herself was raised in small towns in New Hampshire and Maine, and proudly holds New England roots that go back eight and ten generations, on either side.

This New England upbringing, which Strout describes as “isolated…my parents were very, very, very strict,” informs her literary work. As soon as she learned to write, her mother bought her notebooks and told her to put down what she saw. “I wanted to be a writer so much,” Strout says, “that the idea of failing at it was almost unbearable to me. I really didn’t tell people, as I grew older, that I wanted to be a writer.”  

Strout is a careful writer who takes her time to craft polished, fascinating prose. Each book took more than seven years to complete and has earned her praise for characters that are “blunt, flawed and fascinating.” In a New York Times book review, Louisa Thomas writes: “The pleasure in reading Strout comes from an intense identification with complicated, not always admirable, characters. And there are moments in which slipping into a character’s viewpoint seems to involve the revelation of an emotion more powerful and interesting than simple fellow feeling–a complex, sometimes dark, sometimes life-sustaining dependency on others. There’s nothing mawkish or cheap here. There’s simply the honest recognition that we need to try to understand people, even if we can’t stand them.”  

In addition to winning the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Olive Kitteridge, Abide With Me was a national best seller and a Book Sense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine. She is on the faculty of the M.F.A. program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and lives in New York City.

About the Ticket Supplier: Seattle Arts & Lectures

In addition to presenting the foremost fiction and nonfiction writers, Seattle Arts & Lectures' events and courses illuminate arts, culture, and a world of ideas.