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Alexander Chee: How To Write An Autobiographical Novel



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‘Novels are accidents at their start,’ Alexander Chee has written. What causes these productive accidents? Who do they happen to? And what do novels become next?

Chee, the author of two masterful, award-winning novels – and a distinguished teacher, essayist and critic – has given a lot of thought to these questions. His acclaimed, reflexive autobiographical first novel, Edinburgh, was about a Korean-American boy from Maine. His second book, The Queen of the Night, was a radical departure – about a 19th-century opera singer in France.

His third book, How To Write An Autobiographical Novel, is a work of memoir – a collection of engrossing essays about Chee’s own life and about the mysterious alchemy behind full-length works of fiction. These essays describe episodes from the author’s own life, from the traumatic childhood events that fed directly into the writing of Edinburgh, to his AIDS activism in the nineties and his time at Iowa Writers’ Workshop. It’s a profound, enigmatic and charming book; a highly distinctive reflection on memory, identity and creativity.

A revered ‘writer’s writer’, a tireless champion of other authors, and a blazing talent in his own right, Chee will talk writing and life at the Athenaeum Theatre.

Sun Bookshop will be our bookseller for this event.


Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee is the bestselling author of the novels The Queen of the Night and Edinburgh. He is a contributing editor at the New Republic, an editor at large at Virginia Quarterly Review, and a critic at large at the Los Angeles Times. His work has appeared in The Best American Essays 2016, The N... Read more

Leah Jing McIntosh

Leah Jing McIntosh is the founding editor of Liminal magazine. As part of her work for Liminal, Leah has published books, created mentorships and fellowships, and established national literary prizes, seeking to create new spaces and opportunities for community. She has recently edited the essay col... Read more


Athenaeum Theatre

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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