Julie Orringer is the award-winning author of the bestselling novel The Invisible Bridge, the short story collection How to Breathe Underwater, and the historical novel The Flight Portfolio, which is the inspiration for the Netflix limited series Transatlantic.
The subject of The Flight Portfolio and the limited series (adapted by Anna Winger, creator of Unorthodox) is Varian Fry, the American journalist and co-founder of the Emergency Rescue Committee who went to Marseille in 1940 to help writers and artists blacklisted by the Gestapo escape occupied France. Among the more than 2,000 refugees Fry saved were prominent artists and intellectuals including Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, and Jacques Lipchitz. In her dazzling work of historical fiction, Orringer illuminates previously unexplored elements of Fry’s story and offers new insight into his life in a gripping tale of forbidden love, high-stakes adventure, and unimaginable courage. In her enchanting lectures, Orringer discusses her role in the Netflix adaptation, the unique power of fiction to shed light on the historical past, and the responsibility of individuals to take action against injustice.
Orringer’s critically acclaimed works have been translated into twenty languages. Among her many accolades, she is the winner of the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, the MacDowell, and Yaddo.
In addition to her New York Times bestselling books, Julie Orringer’s stories have appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Granta Book of the American Short Story and The Scribner Anthology of American Short Fiction. She has taught at many prestigious colleges and universities including Columbia University, Princeton University, and Stanford University. She currently lives in Brooklyn and teaches Fiction at New York University and the Stanford University Stanford in New York Program.
Lies that Tell the Truth: Story and History in the Novel
Julie Orringer has always been interested in the ways writers interlace real events with fictional ones—how we study and transform the past for the purpose of writing stories and novels, and how the tension between history, speculation, and pure invention can lend energy to a piece of work, both for the writer and the reader. Orringer shares her approach to craft and the process of researching and writing The Invisible Bridge and The Flight Portfolio, as well as the inspiration she has found in other novels that meld history with invention (including Philip Roth’s Plot Against America, Michael Chabon’s Yiddish Policeman’s Union, and Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex). In this spellbinding lecture, Orringer illuminates why authors are compelled to be faithful to the past even as they transform it, and how those transformations can bring to light stories that might not otherwise be told.
The New York Times: In ‘Transatlantic,’ Stories of Rescue and Resistance From World War II
Town and Country Magazine: Everything We Know About New Netflix Period Drama Transatlantic
The Jewish News: Escaping Nazi-Occupied France
“A gripping, tender novel.” —The New Yorker
“Magnificent . . . a deeply researched, almost unbearably tense, bruised-knuckle hybrid. Part real history and part love story, it’s also a deeply moral work, asking tough questions about what matters most to us personally—and to the world.” —The Boston Globe
“Sympathetic and prodigiously ambitious. . . . [Orringer’s] Marseille breathes as a city breathes.” —Cynthia Ozick, The New York Times Book Review
“Passionate and thoroughgoing. . . . [The Flight Portfolio] brings to light a truly inspiring episode in history.” —The Wall Street Journal