Please join us for a conversation with Sheila Kohler and Joyce Carol Oates about their recent books, focusing on the strong female characters at the center of each novel.
In Kohler's Bay of Foxes, set in 1978, Dawit, a young, beautiful, and educated Ethiopian refugee,
roams the streets of Paris. By chance, he spots the famous French author
M., who at sixty is at the height of her fame. Seduced by Dawit's grace
and his moving story, M. invites him to live with her. He makes himself
indispensable, or so he thinks. When M. brings him to her Sardinian
villa, beside the Bay of Foxes, Dawit finds love and temptation—and
perfects the art of deception.
Oates's Mudwoman is a riveting psychological thriller, taut with dark
suspense, that explores the high price of repression in the life of a
respected university president teetering on the precipice of a nervous
breakdown. Like Daphne DuMaurier’s gothic masterwork, Rebecca, and the classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, Oates’s Mudwoman is a chilling page-turner that hinges on the power of the imagination and the blurry lines between the real and the invented.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the
PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some
of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national
bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde (a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and the New York Times bestsellers The Falls (winner of the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger) and The Gravedigger’s Daughter.
She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
at Princeton University.
Sheila Kohler teaches at Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts. Her most recent novel prior to Bay of Foxes is Becoming Jane Eyre, her 10th book. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, O Magazine and included in the Best American Short Stories. She has twice won an
O’Henry Prize, as well as an Open Fiction Award, a Willa Cather Prize,
and a Smart Family Foundation Prize. Her novel Cracks was
nominated for an Impac Award, and has been made into a feature film.
Jennifer Altmann is Associate Editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly and a frequent off hours host of literary events in New Jersey.