Unless every character you write is exactly like you, fiction involves writing across difference. Those differences might be ones of identity and demographics, or they might be ones of knowledge, experience, setting, and historical era. With so much valid concern and debate around the touchy issue of appropriation, writers can find themselves crippled by fears: Do I have permission to write this? What if I get it horribly wrong? Even if I do it well, will people be upset that I wrote outside my own life? REBECCA MAKKAI’s award-winning The Great Believers is a novel that took the author far beyond her own lived experience and her own identity. Join her as she discusses the essential questions she asked herself as she wrote, and what she learned in her years of researching the AIDS epidemic in 1980s Chicago and filtering that experience into her fiction.
Registration will open on Monday, May 24 at 7:00 a.m.
The 2021 Summer Speaker Series, presented by The Community Library and the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, is a series of four FREE outdoor lectures hosted in Ketchum’s Forest Service Park. Advanced registration is required. Click above to reserve your space. We will determine the number of seats available closer to the event, and waitlisted guests will be notified as soon as possible.
The lecture will also be available to stream on the Library’s Livestream. Click here to watch the live stream, which will be available for a limited time.
Rebecca Makkai’s 2018 novel, The Great Believers, is a masterful story of love, friendship, and redemption that intertwines the saga of the 1980s Chicago AIDS crisis with that of a mother trying to track down an estranged daughter in modern Paris. Hailed by The New York Times Book Review as “an absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis,” The Great Believers has become a critically acclaimed masterpiece. It received the Andrew Carnegie Medal and the LA Book Prize, was a National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, and Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize finalist, and it was selected as a New York Times “Best 10 Books of the Year,” among numerous honors. The Great Believers was optioned by Amy Poehler for a major television event. Makkai is also the author of Music for Wartime, a collection of stories, and the novels The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower.
In talks and workshops that blend wisdom and humor with time-tested strategy, Makkai welcomes readers and writers into her process. From wrestling with issues of identity and appropriation to overcoming writer’s block and ensuring meticulous research, Makkai shares the techniques that she uses to create her bestselling works.
In addition to the Andrew Carnegie Medal, Makkai is the recipient of the 2017 Pushcart Prize for her short fiction. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her short fiction has been anthologized in The Pushcart Prize XLI, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, New Stories from the Midwest and Best American Fantasy. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Harper’s and Tin House, and on Public Radio International’s Selected Shorts and This American Life. The recipient of a 2014 NEA fellowship, Makkai is on the MFA faculties of Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University, and she is the Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago. Rebecca holds an MA from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. She currently lives in Chicago.
For more information on Rebecca Makkai, please visit www.prhspeakers.com.
Pre-sales of Makkai’s books will be available through Iconoclast Books. Please visit Iconoclast in Hailey or call 208-726-1564 to order your copies. Makkai will sign books in private to protect the health and safety of the speaker and attendees, and those who purchase books through Iconoclast will be able to pick them up at the bookstore approximately 1-2 days following the lecture.
Photo credit: Benjamin Busch