Author Michael Chabon Speaks: I was Edgar Allan Poe!
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The last date listed for Author Michael Chabon was Tuesday March 9, 2010 / 7:30pm.
Seattle Arts & Lectures presents Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon at Benaroya Hall. Chabon’s talk is entitled, “I was Edgar Allan Poe! A true story of imaginary reincarnation, literary influence, and pathetically belated revenge.”
From his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, published in 1988 when he was just 25, to The Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), two collections of short stories, two essay collections, a young adult novel (Summerland), a novella (The Final Solution) and his most recent novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Chabon has simultaneously entertained us, literarily amazed us, and blown our academic minds.
A lover of comics and an avid reader of fantasy fiction, a school assignment at the age of ten—to write a short story involving Sherlock Holmes—convinced Chabon that he wanted to be a writer. Chabon incorporates the best parts of genre fiction with the dexterous wordplay, cultural impact, and emotional force of what the academy considers “high” art. Influenced by pulp/genre writers Raymond Chandler, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, and what he calls “borderland” writers—writers “who can dwell between worlds”—John Crowley, Jorge Luis Borges, Stephen Millhauser, and Thomas Pynchon, to name a few—he sets up classic genre constructions and layers on stories of exile and belonging, identity, nationality, freedom, and destiny, then mixes them up with sports mythologies, folklore, and the workings of the human heart. Longing and regret are constant themes, but with a nod to Yiddish humor he keeps the bleak and funny in balance.
Born in Washington D.C. in 1963, Chabon studied at Carnegie Mellon and received an M.F.A. at UC Irvine. He lives with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their four children in Berkeley, California.