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Memoir Meets Detective Story with Padma Viswanathan and Tracy O’Neill

Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT July 24, 2024

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

The Center for Fiction welcomes two accomplished authors—Padma Viswanathan and Tracy O’Neill—to celebrate their new books which blend the detective genre with memoir. Viswanathan, a Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist, tells the tale of her friendship with Phillip, a kind, working-class queer man, in her book, Like Every Form of Love. Phillip shares with Viswanathan the story of his checkered childhood, his abusive father, and his illusive stepmother Del who happens to be a convicted bank robber. While Phillip allows Viswanathan to tell his story, she begins to fear the harm that retelling his traumas will do to both him and their friendship. O’Neill, an alum of The Center for Fiction / Susan Kamil Emerging Writer Fellowship program, also explores a tantalizing mystery through her memoir Woman of Interest. The book follows O’Neill as she becomes her own detective, investigating what happened to the mysterious mother she never met. Featuring a femme fatale and a former CIA operative, her search for her biological mother illuminates the kind of woman she is and wants to be. Viswanathan and O’Neill will discuss their memoirs and the ways by which they broke genre conventions to craft their stories. After the conversation, both authors will sign books.


In Conversation

  • Credit Alex Tran Viswanathan-Author-Photo-29-Edit-683x1024

    Padma Viswanathan

    Padma Viswanathan

    Padma Viswanathan is a Canadian American writer and translator. Her novels have been published in eight countries and shortlisted for the PEN USA Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and others. She has published short fiction, essays and translations in Granta, The Boston Review, BRICK, and elsewhere. Full-length translations include São Bernardo, by Brazilian novelist Graciliano Ramos and Where We Stand, by the philosopher Djamila Ribeiro. A new novel, The Charterhouse of Padma, is forthcoming in 2024. She is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas—Fayetteville, where she is Founding Director of the Arkansas International Writer-at-Risk Residency Program.

    Photo Credit: Alex Tran

  • Author Photo TRACY O'NEILL Credit Oskar Miarka

    Tracy O'Neill

    Tracy O'Neill

    Tracy O’Neill is the author of the novels The Hopeful and Quotients. In 2015, she was named a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, longlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was a Narrative Under 30 finalist. In 2012, she was named an Emerging Writer Fellow at The Center for Fiction. O’Neill teaches at Vassar College, and her writing has appeared in Granta, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, Bookforum, and other publications. She holds an MFA from the City College of New York and an MA, an MPhil, and a PhD from Columbia University.

    Photo Credit: Oskar Miarka