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New York Times Best-Selling Author Discusses Writing with Students

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As part of the College of Arts & Letters three-year sponsorship of the Great Michigan Read, Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel met and answered questions and discussed her latest book, Station Eleven, with English majors and Creative Writing students, all of whom had read her book.

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Topics raised by students and faculty during the St. John Mandel discussion included the author’s writing process, where her ideas come from, and how she develops a story.

“When I first visited the Michigan lakeshore on a book tour in 2010, I liked it so much that I decided I wanted to set my next book there,” St. John Mandel said. “I was delighted to learn Station Eleven was selected as a Great Michigan Read.”

The Michigan Humanities Council’s Great Michigan Read is a biennial statewide literary program focusing on humanities themes. A statewide panel of teachers, librarians, community leaders, and book lovers select a book every two years. Station Eleven was the chosen title for the program’s fifth round, which ran August 2015 through May 2016.

Station Eleven was on the New York Times best-seller list for eight weeks and was one of the best-reviewed books in 2014. It was a 2014 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction. The novel’s film and TV rights have been acquired by producer Scott Steindorff, whose work includes The Lincoln Lawyer and Chef. Station Eleven also won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award and was named “One of the Best Books of the Year” by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Minnesota Public Radio, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed.

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