Jennifer Egan is one of America’s most acclaimed and least predictable novelists.
Egan’s most famous book – the virtuosic, Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad – took the form of 13 interlocking stories set in the dying days of the music industry, with one chapter presented in the form of a powerpoint presentation. Her latest novel, Manhattan Beach, is a work of historical fiction set in the Brooklyn Naval Yard in World War II.
An engrossing story replete with lush imagery and crackling wit, Manhattan Beach showcases the narrative energy and expansive style that have made Egan a leading American novelist of her generation. It is also the result of painstaking research. Egan spent eight years learning about American wartime naval history and interviewing veteran divers – even going so far as to try on a 90-kilogram World War II diving suit herself.
At the Athenaeum Theatre with Michael Williams, she discusses history, hope and American upheaval.
Jennifer Egan is the author of A Visit From The Goon Squad, The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in the New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her non-fiction appears frequently in the New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.