Acclaimed Author Ayelet Waldman to Visit Campus, Discuss Creative Process for 2014 UNA Writers' Series

Feb. 24, 2014


Ayelet Waldman

By Terry Pace, Communications and Marketing

FLORENCE, Ala. – Acclaimed author Ayelet Waldman – whose literary triumphs include Red Hook Road, Love and Other Possible Pursuits, Bad Mother and the Mommy-Track Mysteries – will address audiences at the University of North Alabama and read from her works at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28.

The special free public event – part of the prestigious and popular UNA Writers' Series – will take place in the Performance Center of the Guillot University Center on the UNA campus.

“Ayelet's presentation will include the ways in which her research on the Holocaust and her Judaism informs her forthcoming novel, Love and Treasure,” according to Pam Kingsbury, who chairs the Writers’ Series with fellow UNA English professor Daryl Brown. “She is giving a reading/craft talk on turning an idea into a novel.”

Now in its 30th year, the UNA Writers’ Series is now the longest continuous writers’ series in the state. From its beginning, the series has provided UNA students and the surrounding community with opportunities to share their interest in writing and contemporary literature with well-known professional writers from a variety of genres. Recent special guests have included Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni, novelist, poet and essayist Ishmael Reed, Native American poet and musician Joy Harjo and current American poet laureate Natasha Trethewey.

“Ayelet Waldman is a writer with a national and international reputation,” Kingsbury observed. “Her work is very passionate. She's appeared on Oprah, and she has been featured alongside her husband and fellow author, Michael Chabon, in the New York Times ‘Style’ section. She's the author of seven Mommy-Track Mysteries, four novels, and Bad Mother, a collection of essays.”

Waldman has titled her UNA presentation "Finding the Gold Train: The Itinerary of an Idea.” The program will trace the development and progression of her upcoming book, Love and Treasure, scheduled to be published by Knopf in April.

“I only have one rule when it comes to fiction: I don't read writers that are worse than me,” Waldman told The Atlantic Wire in 2011. “And that leaves so much to read. I'll never run out of books. For a fiction writer, that can be the most depressing thing to contemplate. You go to the new fiction table and you just want to kill yourself. You've never heard of any of these books, they all look great, and how is anyone going to come across my novel in this sea of fiction that's being generated? But as a reader it's just such an awesome thought: you'll never run out of books to read.”

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Waldman spent three years working as a federal public defender. In all her fiction, she has drawn extensively on her legal education and career as a lawyer. She and Chabon (a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) have co-written several screenplays and television pilots. The couple – once described by Entertainment Weekly as “a famous (and famously in love) writing pair, like Nick and Nora Charles with word processors and not so much booze” – live with their four children in Berkeley, California.

“Love and marriage are about work and compromise,” Waldman believes. “They're about seeing someone for what he is, being disappointed and deciding to stick around anyway. They're about commitment and comfort, not some kind of sudden, hysterical recognition.” 

Waldman’s novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was adapted into a film called The Other Woman starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on All Things Considered and The California Report, and her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.

“Ayelet Waldman’s presentation in the Performance Center will run approximately 45 minutes,” Kingsbury noted. “A book-signing and reception will follow in The Loft of the Guillot University Center.”

Waldman’s appearance at UNA is open to the public and presented free of charge. For more information, call 256-765-4890 or 256-765-4238. For additional background on the author and her work, visit her website at http://www.ayeletwaldman.com/about/.

A high-resolution color photo of 2014 UNA Writers' Series guest Ayelet Waldman is available on the UNA Gallery at: http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/photo.php?id=10595