The B&N Podcast: Leigh Bardugo on Her School for Sorcery


Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

Today’s guest is the bestselling writer Leigh Bardugo, whose works of boldly imagined and intricately plotted fantasy like Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom have made her one of the superstars of YA fiction — and now she’s expanding her territory in her new novel for adults, Ninth House. In Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels the author has rewritten the templates for 21st-century fantasy, building worlds inspired by Tsarist Russia the 17th-century Dutch Republic, and weaving quite modern, witty stories of espionage and crime into tales of sorcery and myth. To the delight of her fans, Netflix has announced that a new series based on Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows is about to begin filming. But the author has fresh wonders in store: Ninth House retains Bardugo’s gift for fantasy and magic but departs from YA and sojourns into a version of our world. It’s a darkly conceived world of Ivy League secrets, power, privilege, and yes, magic. Bardugo joins B&N’s Miwa Messer by phone to talk about mixing fantasy with real-world issues in Ninth House.

The mesmerizing adult debut from Leigh Bardugo, a tale of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder set among the Ivy League elite

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

This B&N exclusive edition includes an annotated chapter with hand written notes from Leigh Bardugo in the margins.

See more books by Leigh Bardugo.

Like this podcast? Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher to discover intriguing new conversations every week.