Fiction Futures: Damon Galgut and Edmund White
Wednesday October 1, 2014
Damon Galgut and Edmund White discussed their new books, Arctic Summer (Galgut) and Inside a Pearl (White).
About Arctic Summer
In 1912, the SS Birmingham approaches India. On board is Morgan Forster, novelist and man of letters, who is embarking on a journey of discovery. As Morgan stands on deck, the promise of a strange new future begins to take shape before his eyes. The seeds of a story start to gather at the corner of his mind: a sense of impending menace, lust in close confines, under a hot, empty sky. It will be another twelve years, and a second, and much longer time spent in India, before A Passage to India, E.M. Forster's most beloved work of literature, is completed. During these years, Morgan will come to a recognition of his homosexuality and of the infinite subtleties and complexities of human nature. Arctic Summer is an intimate portrait of the man who became one of Britain's finest novelists, his struggle to find a way of living and being, and a stunningly vivid evocation of the mysterious alchemy of the creative process. Galgut animates the literary times in which Forster lived with encounters with some of the writers of the day, including Virginia and Leonard Woolf and D.H. Lawrence. Galgut also brilliantly and poignantly describes Forster's two closest relationships, enduring and sadly unfulfilled. Arctic Summer is a literary masterpiece, by one of the finest writers of his generation.
Damon Galgut’s 2003 novel The Good Doctor won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In A Strange Room (Europa, 2010) was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2013, Galgut was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
About Inside a Pearl
When Edmund White moved to Paris in 1983, leaving New York City in the midst of the AIDS crisis, he was forty-three years old, couldn’t speak French, and only knew two people in the entire city. But in middle age, he discovered the new anxieties and pleasures of mastering a new culture. When he left fifteen years later to take a teaching position in the U.S., he was fluent enough to broadcast on French radio and TV, and in his work as a journalist, he’d made the acquaintance of everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Catherine Deneuve to Michel Foucault. He’d also developed a close friendship with an older woman, Marie-Claude, through which he’d come to understand French life and culture in a deeper way.
Edmund White has written biographies of Jean Genet, Marcel Proust, and Arthur Rimbaud. He has also written several novels; the most recent is Jack Holmes and His Friend: A Novel. He teaches creative writing at Princeton. His book States of Desire Revisited: Travels in Gay America will be published in September 2014.