in Conversation with Michael Krasny
Recorded May 2nd, 2020
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Erik Larson in conversation with Michael Krasny
Saturday, May 2nd, 2020
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Erik Larson is the author of eight books, six of which became New York Times bestsellers. His latest books, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, both hit no. 1 on the list soon after launch.
He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Russian history, language and culture; he received a masters in journalism from Columbia University. After a brief stint at the Bucks County Courier Times, Erik became a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, and later a contributing writer for Time Magazine. His magazine stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and other publications.
He has taught non-fiction writing at San Francisco State, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, the University of Oregon, and the Chuckanut Writers Conference in Bellingham, Wash., and has spoken to audiences from coast to coast. A former resident of Seattle, he now lives in Manhattan with his wife, a neonatologist, who is also the author of the nonfiction memoir, Almost Home, which, as Erik puts it, “could make a stone cry.” They have three daughters in far-flung locations and professions. Their beloved dog Molly resides in an urn on a shelf overlooking Central Park, where they like to think she now spends most of her time.
“Even in the midst of great events, our heroes still had to deal with such quotidian matters as paying bills and resolving domestic dramas. It’s these little corners of history that most appeal to me.”
– Erik Larson, interviewed in BookPage
Erik Larson is the author of eight books, six of which became New York Times bestsellers. His latest books, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, both hit no. 1 on the list soon after launch. His saga of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, The Devil in the White City, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing; it lingered on various Times bestseller lists for the better part of a decade. Hulu plans to adapt the book for a limited TV series, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as executive producers. Erik’s In the Garden of Beasts, about how America’s first ambassador to Nazi Germany and his daughter experienced the rising terror of Hitler’s rule, has been optioned by Tom Hanks for development as a feature film.
Erik’s first book of narrative nonfiction, Isaac’s Storm, about the giant hurricane that destroyed Galveston, Texas, in 1900, won the American Meteorology Society’s prestigious Louis J. Battan Author’s Award. The Washington Post called it the “Jaws of hurricane yarns.” Erik is particularly pleased to have won the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 2016 Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Non-Fiction.
Visit the Book Passage website to have any of Erik’s books delivered right to your door.
You’re sure to enjoy these Book Passage favorites:
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
A personal note from Erik Larson.
Sent May 3rd, following his Conversations with Authors session.
It was lovely to spend an evening with all of you, and to have the opportunity to once again speak with Michael Krasny, one of my favorite interviewers. (I’m told the birds in my yard horned in a bit on the conversation, but, they have opinions too.) All I can say, in this viral time, is thank goodness for books, and for the diversion and solace they provide. Along those lines, a few suggestions:
- “Things in Jars,” by Jess Kidd;
- “The Couple Next Door,” Shari Lapena;
- “The Lord of the Flies,” William Golding (I know, I know, but it’s incredibly good,especially the sudden shift in p.o.v. at the end.)
- “The Woman in the Window,” by A. J. Finn;
- “News of the World,” Paulette Jiles;
- “A Man Called Ove,” Fredrik Backman;
- “I Remember Nothing,” Nora Ephron;
- “All Adults Here,” Emma Straub.