Shirley

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Shirley (Blue Rider Press, 2014), Susan Scarf Merrell’s historical fiction novel about a young couple who stay at the home of horror writer Shirley Jackson and literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman in 1964, has been adapted into a feature film of the same name. Directed by Josephine Decker, the thriller stars Logan Lerman, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Odessa Young.

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Hilary Mantel Reads From The Mirror and the Light

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“If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?” Hilary Mantel reads from The Mirror and the Light (Henry Holt, 2020), the final novel in her trilogy, which began with her Booker Prize–winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

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Run Me to Earth

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“The book may be an act of imagination, it could be a work of fiction, but it’s based on something that absolutely happened, no matter how unbelievable it seems.” Paul Yoon talks about the shadow history of the United States’ secret war in Laos during the 1960s that inspired his second novel, Run Me to Earth (Simon & Schuster, 2020).

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The Girl With the Leica

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In this video, German Italian author Helena Janeczek talks about her historical fiction novel, The Girl With the Leica (Europa Editions, 2019), translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, for which she won the Strega Prize. The book centers on the life of Gerda Taro, who documented the Spanish Civil War with photographer Robert Capa and was tragically the first woman photojournalist to die on the battlefield.

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Les Misérables

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Tom Shankland has directed a new television series adaptation of Les Misérables, Victor Hugo’s classic 1862 historical fiction novel, for Masterpiece on PBS. The cast of characters includes a young working woman Fantine, her daughter Cosette, and police inspector Javert, who chases after fugitive Jean Valjean. Ellie Bamber, Lilly Collins, David Oyelowo, and Dominic West star in the lead roles.

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Mudbound

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“Violence is part and parcel of country life.” Hillary Jordan’s debut novel, Mudbound (Algonquin Books, 2008), which won the 2006 Bellwether Prize, has been adapted into a feature film. Set in post–World War II in the Mississippi Delta, the film was directed and written by Dee Rees and stars Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, and Mary J. Blige.

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Alias Grace

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Alias Grace (Anchor Books, 1996), Margaret Atwood’s fictional account of Grace Marks, an Irish Canadian maid who was convicted of murdering her employer and his mistress in 1843, has been adapted into a television series. Directed by Mary Harron and written by Sarah Polley, the series stars Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcroft, and Zachary Levi.

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Min Jin Lee

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“I wanted very much to write an accurate historical novel because I was so troubled about how hate can operate in our hearts.” Min Jin Lee introduces herself and talks about the impetus for her second novel, Pachinko (Grand Central Publishing, 2017), a story that follows four generations of a Korean immigrant family in twentieth-century Japan.

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ZZ Packer

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“The dog kept at it, each bark, one right after the other, loud as gunshot, its face a box of jowl and jaw more massive than bloodhound.” At Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, ZZ Packer reads from and discusses her novel-in-progress, The Thousands, which chronicles the lives of black, white, and Native American families shortly after the Civil War, through Reconstruction and the Indian Campaigns in the Southwest.

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