The Wheeler Centre
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Elizabeth Gilbert: The Signature of All Things
Elizabeth Gilbert is famous for her self-discovery memoir, Eat, Pray, Love – the international bestseller that became a travel phenomenon, a Hollywood movie and an inspiration to women the world over. But before she was a poster-girl for finding yourself through travel, she was a much-praised novelist and a National Book Award winner, with four books under her belt.
Her first novel in 13 years, The Signature of All Things – a wildly imaginative literary page-turner – has met with a rapturous critical reception.
In this conversation with Caroline Baum, Gilbert reveals the stories and influences behind the book’s scientific trailblazer Alma Whittaker –and her grappling with the ethical, social and sexual constraints of the era in which the story is set. Whittaker, we learn, is a character constructed of minutely considered decisions by the author.
Gilbert also shares how she achieved a fine balance between the historical and contemporary – and how she sets about voicing the narration in her work.