Posts From Author: susan minot

This Is Not A Man

Alexander Pope recited in the style of William Shatner. A French general, born into slavery in Saint-Domingue, locked in a war of attrition with Napoleon Bonaparte. A live link to Hollywood during Oscars week. It could only be the House of SpeakEasy. “This Is Not A Man” delivered another Seriously Entertaining mix of music, comedy, history and literature in the warm embrace of City Winery in SoHo. First out of the gate was Dana Vachon, author of Wall Street satire Mergers & Acquisitions. He kicked off with a couple of thumbnail sketches — “One story that doesn’t work involves my father and a terrorist…” — before setting off on a globe-trotting assignment set by Vanity Fair. It was a tale of data-mining billionaires, early-morning water calisthenics in Singapore, and uber-alpha-male English expats all called Roger MacMillan, topped off with sage words of advice from Don DeLillo. “I asked him what young novelists should be writing about,” said Vachon, “and he said immediately, without hesitation, the destruction of the environment.” The comedian Steve Coogan, who stands to win his first Oscar this weekend for his screenplay for Philomena, spoke to SpeakEasy founder Amanda Foreman via Facetime from Los Angeles. Coogan has enjoyed a phenomenally successful career in comedy, but Philomena is […]
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Curtain Call: This Is Not A Man

We’re just days away from our February show, “This Is Not a Man”. Speechless with excitement, it seems only right that we hand over to our six guests to introduce themselves. So without further ado… Tom Reiss won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography for his latest book, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo. “It’s a great, forgotten, unknown, erased African-American success story,” he says, “and a story of a moment in time that really should realign our understanding of the history of race and race relations in the west.” Here he is talking about the origins of the book, which PEN judges called “a miracle of research”. Steve Coogan could be the worthy winner of an Academy Award next Sunday. He and Jeff Pope are nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for Philomena. Looking ahead, Coogan’s film Alan Partridge, released last year in the UK as Alpha Papa, is available on demand and via iTunes next Thursday (February 27) and you can catch it in US cinemas from April 4. In a short trip to the UK last year, I actively didn’t see friends so that I could make […]
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A Thousand Natural Shocks: The Novels of Susan Minot

Susan Minot’s latest book, Thirty Girls (Knopf, 2014), is her first novel in over a decade and a significant departure from her earlier work. The girls of the title are the real-life prisoners of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda captured from their convent school in 1996. Five died in captivity, and the last to escape returned to Uganda in 2009. Thirty Girls has been getting great reviews — the New York Times calls it “a novel of quiet humanity and probing intelligence” and says that “to ignore Minot’s book would be a serious mistake” (read Fiammetta Rocco’s full review here) — and we’re delighted to welcome Susan Minot to the House of SpeakEasy. Minot made her name with work of a less geopolitical hue. Her first novel, Monkeys, published in 1986, was a family saga, of which more below. This was followed by the collection Lust and Other Stories (1989), the historical novel Folly (1993), and the screenplay for Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty (1996). The latter was closely followed by Evening (1998), the opening chapter of which you can read here. In 2002 came Rapture, a novella that deconstructs a doomed relationship. Five years later a movie adaptation of Evening was released starring Vanessa Redgrave and Claire Danes and written by Minot and Michael Cunningham (The Hours). Quoting Hamlet, […]
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