"I know no one else who writes as Joan Silber does, with such an immediate contemporary voice, about our secret yearnings for a spiritual life," observes Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona.
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New York, NY
Date of Birth:
June 14, 1945
Place of Birth:
Newark, New Jersey
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1967; M.A., New York University, 1980
PEN/Hemingway Award, 1981; Ploughshares Cohen Award, 2003
|2004 National Book Award Finalist|
|Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories|
This compelling collection of stories -- set in France, Italy, New York, and China -- traverse the terrain between the past and the present, exploring ideas about how sex and religion become parallel forms of dedication and comfort. "Individually, each piece is an intimate marvel; cumulatively, they add up to a marvelous book," reflects Peter Ho Davies, author of The Ugliest House in the World.
|A Writer's Rituals|
|In our exclusive interview with Silber, we asked her about her writing environment and rituals. She reveals: "Above my desk I have a lot of postcards stuck into the wallboard. When I was writing Ideas of Heaven, I had pictures of canals in Venice, monks in Thailand, and one of Louisa May Alcott that I thought looked like the missionaries in China in the title story. I try to be at my desk between lunch and dinner, so if I’ve finished eating, I know it’s time to get myself over there. Sometimes I have three desserts, to stall."|
|Silber's Reading Recommendations|
We also asked Silber to tell us about some of her favorite books. Open Secrets by Alice Munro made her list; she explains, "Munro showed me that stories could contain vast amounts of time and move around freely between decades. Her work gave me a sense of the capatiousness and freedom of the story form."
"I think he’s turning into one of the great writers of our time," Silber reflects on Ha Jin, the author of another favorite book, Waiting. She continues, "In the China of his books, people’s drives burst out of the bounds imposed on them." Read our interview with Silber to learn about more of her favorites, including:
|Photo by Barry Goldstein||