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Jan. 25 | Jennifer Egan: The Novelist as Oral Historian

  • School of Journalism, World Room, Columbia University 2950 Broadway New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)
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WHEN: Thursday, January 25, 2018, 6:00 - 7:30 pm

WHERE: 2950 Broadway, School of Journalism, Columbia University

One of America’s most vital contemporary authors, Jennifer Egan is equally at home writing fiction and nonfiction. For her newest novel, Manhattan Beach, about Brooklyn in the 1930s and 40s, she did considerable historical research that included oral history interviewing. She partnered with the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Historical Society to help create an archive of Navy Yard workers’ stories, including many from the women who held jobs there. Join us as Egan discusses her experiences as an interviewer, how she thinks oral history differs from journalism, and the process by which facts and stories are transformed by her imagination into entirely new stories. And learn more about Manhattan Beach, the latest memorable and surprising installment in a smart and versatile literary career.


Jennifer Egan is the author of five previous books of fiction: A Visit from the Goon Squad, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Keep; the story collection Emerald City; Look at Me, a National Book Award finalist; and The Invisible Circus. In 2012 her story “Black Box,” was first published on Twitter as a series of 140-character tweets. Also a journalist, Egan has written on such topics as young fashion models, homeless children and the secret online lives of closeted gay teens. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications.


This event is part of a yearlong series on Oral History and the Arts and co-sponsored by the School of Journalism and co-sponsored by the Brooklyn College Listening Project. 

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Amy Starecheski at aas39@columbia.edu.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

No registration is required, but RSVPs on the event Facebook page (to be posted) are appreciated to gauge attendance.