All writers are obsessives, but none more so than historical fiction authors. “My level of research became a little neurotic,” confessed Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko. Amy Bloom was guided by 3000 letters between journalist Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt as she re-imagined one of the 20th century’s greatest love stories in White Houses. Jennifer Egan spent months at the Brooklyn Historical Society researching Manhattan Beach. Three of the Festival’s most anticipated guests share their experiences with Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams.
Min Jin Lee (International)
Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award. A New York Times bestseller, Pachinko was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The New York Times, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, the BBC, CBC, the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library. Pachinko was on more than six dozen best books of the year lists around the world, including NPR, PBS, CNN, History channel, Esquire, Financial Times, Amazon, Financial Review, New Statesman, Chicago Tribune, Whitcoulls 100, and The Irish Times. Min’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times, NPR’s Fresh Air and USA Today.
Jennifer Egan (International)
Jennifer Egan is the author of several novels and a short story collection. Her 2010 novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times book prize. Also a journalist, she has written frequently in the New York Times Magazine. Her new novel, Manhattan Beach, became an instant New York Times bestseller. It has been awarded the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. In March 2018, she was named the new president of PEN America.
Amy Bloom (International)
Amy Bloom is the author of author White Houses, the fictionalised account of the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. She is also the author of two New York Times bestsellers and three collections of short stories, a children’s book and a ground-breaking collection of essays. She's been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, O Magazine and Vogue, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award for Fiction. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages. She lives in Connecticut and is Wesleyan University’s Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing.
Michael Williams (Australian)
Michael Williams is the director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. For 2015-2016 he hosted Blueprint for Living on RN, and he remains a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for publications including The Guardian Australia, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.