Editor, novelist, creative writing teacher, rock 'n' roll keyboardist, and new mom René Steinke is as much of a colorful character as the women she writes about. Her National Book Award-nominated novel is a fictionalized account of the true adventures of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, a poet, model, and friend of Marcel Duchamp.
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Brooklyn, New York
Date of Birth:
August 27, 1964
Place of Birth:
B.A., Valparaiso University, 1986; M.F.A., University of Virginia, 1988; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1993
|2005 National Book Award Finalist|
|Holy Skirts: A Novel of a Flamboyant Woman Who Risked All for Art|
Steinke's National Book Award contender is a vivid portrait of the real-life Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s dramatic story of passion, poetry, and art in the early 1900s, employing actual incidents from her colorful life. The National Book Award judges' citation calls it "a delightful novel in myriad ways, but none more than in the feast of language it offers us and a heroine who is both guileless and irresistible."
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|An Author's Inspiration|
|In our interview, we asked Steike to tell us about the one book that has inspired her the most in terms of her career as a writer. Her pick: "Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. When I was writing The Fires and Holy Skirts, Nabokov was an inspiration, not only for his fearlessness but also for his amazing and joyful writing," she reveals.|
We also asked Steinke to tell us about some of her all-time favorite books. She selected Underworld by Don DeLillo, calling it "a huge and wonderful book about the power of history and the meaning to be found in garbage (or what might ordinarily be seen as garbage)."
"These are devastating, memorable stories," Steinke observes of another favorite work, Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son. "They examine spiritual ideas through unexpected characters and scenarios." Read our interview with Steinke to learn about more of her best-loved books, including:
|Photo by Marion Ettlinger||