In Conversation: Jill Bialosky and Bill Clegg
Tuesday October 27, 2015
|Photo Credit: Christian Hansen (Clegg)|
Authors Jill Bialosky and Bill Clegg joined us for an evening exploring their new novels, The Prize (Bialosky), and Did You Ever Have a Family (Clegg). The authors discussed their novels which each explore the complicated and sometimes secretive relationships in families, as well as what it's like to have careers in the publishing industry while working as authors.
About The Prize
Talented, successful, blessed with a loving wife and daughter, Edward Darby has everything a man should hope for. With a rising career as a partner at an esteemed gallery he strives not to let ambition, money, power, and his dark past corrode the sanctuary of his domestic and private life. Influenced by his father, a brilliant Romantics scholar, Edward has always been more of a purist than an opportunist. But when a celebrated artist controlled by her insecurities betrays him, and another very different artist awakens his heart and stirs up secrets from his past, Edward will find himself unmoored from his marriage, his work, and the memory of his beloved father. And when the finalists of an important prize are announced, and the desperate artists maneuver to seek its validation, Edward soon learns that betrayal comes in many forms, and that he may be hurtling toward an act that challenges his own notions about what comprises a life worth living. A compelling odyssey of a man unhinged by his ideals, The Prize is as well an unflinching portrait of a marriage struggling against the corroding tide of time and the proximity to the treacherous fault line between art and money. Inspired by her work as a poet and the need to preserve a private space for the creation of art, The Prize by Jill Bialosky is her most moving novel yet.
About Did You Ever Have a Family
In the early morning hours of her daughter’s wedding day, June Reid’s family – her boyfriend, the much younger Luke; her ex-husband, Adam; her daughter Lolly, and Lolly’s fiancé Will – perish in a house fire, with June the only survivor. Faced with this devastating loss, June drives away from the small Connecticut town where she made her life following her divorce, and heads towards a place where her daughter – with whom she had a complicated relationship – found deep connection. Her journey is a dazzling revelation of just how interconnected we are as humans, the ways in which we heal and find forgiveness, and how we come to live with our regrets.
In her wake, June has left others who were also affected by the tragedy. Told in alternating narratives, readers meet Silas, the pot-smoking teen who lives nearby and works for Luke; Luke’s mother, the hardscrabbled Lydia, who has made her share of mistakes; Rick, the unpaid caterer who grew up with Luke and can recall a talented youth who possessed what seemed like unlimited potential; Rebecca, the owner of the motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles, who too has a past to overcome; Cissy the cleaning woman who forms a bond with June; and more. Each character plays their part and through these unforgettable voices and histories, Clegg pieces together a heartbreaking puzzle of secrets and unfinished business that will remain with readers long after the final page is turned
Jill Bialosky is the author of four poetry collections, The Players, The End of Desire, Subterranean, a finalist for the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and Intruder, a finalist for the 2009 Patterson Poetry Prize. She co-edited Wanting a Child and has written two novels, House Under Snow and The Life Room. Her most recent memoir, History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life was a New York Times bestseller, named one of the ten best works of nonfiction by Entertainment Weekly and a finalist for Books for A Better Life Award and an Ohioana Award. Her poems and essays have been published in many magazines including The New Yorker, The Nation, Redbook, O Magazine, Real Simple, Kenyon Review, Antioch Review, The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry, and American Poetry Review. She lives in New York City. Learn more at jillbialosky.com.
Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York and the author of a novel, Did You Ever Have a Family, and the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. He has written for The New York Times, Lapham’s Quarterly, New York Magazine, The Guardian, and Harper’s Bazaar. http://www.billcleggauthor.com.