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Melanie Benjamin

Bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife

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  • About Melanie Benjamin

    A natural public speaker, author Melanie Benjamin’s lectures both entertain and educate as audiences learn more about the iconic characters featured in her bestselling works of historical fiction. Benjamin has a unique ability to mine the lives of history’s most riveting figures, crafting intimate and memorable portraits of their legacies.

    Her first novel, Alice I Have Been, explores the real story of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Benjamin animates Alice’s fascinating and complex character, from her girlhood as the daughter of the dean of Christ Church College at Oxford University, to her friendship with Lewis Carroll, into her adult years.

    Her second novel, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, tells the extraordinary story of tiny Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump, a member of P. T. Barnum’s circus family and the wife of superstar General Tom Thumb.

    Benjamin’s third novel was the critically acclaimed, bestselling sensation The Aviator’s Wife, in which she portrays one of the most iconic women in American history, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Daughter of the American ambassador to Mexico, wife of Charles Lindbergh, mother, writer, and aviatrix, her story, set against the backdrop of pivotal moments in history, provides a rich tapestry for a novel.

    In The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Benjamin’s delivered an enthralling exploration into Truman Capote’s scandalous and headline-making friendships with Babe Paley and the New York society “swans” of the 1950s. The book was a New York Times bestseller and the #1 Indie Next pick for February 2016, and will be made into a limited television series starring Bryce Dallas Howard and produced by RatPac Entertainment.

    Benjamin’s latest novel, The Girls in the Picture, is the story of the friendship between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends—screenwriter Frances Marion and superstar Mary Pickford.

    Benjamin lives in Chicago and has appeared at the Southern Festival of Books, the James Thurber House, the Dallas Museum of Art, and at many other literary festivals and libraries around the country.

     

  • Speaking Topics

    Writing Famous Women’s Lives

    Known for her ability to weave fiction and history into imaginative and compelling novels, Melanie Benjamin discusses what draws her to the women she writes about and the research and attention that goes into each work. In her presentations, Benjamin highlights the historic icons in her bestselling books—Alice I Have Been, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, The Aviator's Wife, The Swans of Fifth Avenue., and, most recently, The Girls in the Picture.

  • Video

  • Praise for Melanie Benjamin

    Praise for The Girls in the Picture

    Inspiration is a rare and unexpected gift in a book filled with the fluff of Hollywood, but Benjamin provides it with The Girls in the Picture.

    Jean Zimmerman, NPR.org

    Profoundly resonant, The Girls in the Picture is at its core, an empowering and fascinating tale of sisterhood….Deeply affecting…This sublime historical fiction reads like an intimate memoir…This book isn’t just timely, it’s necessary!

    Bryce Dallas Howard

    Melanie Benjamin, known for her living, breathing portraits of famous figures, takes on the Golden Age of Hollywood, and the friendship between icons Mary Pickford and screenwriter Frances Marion. As riveting as the latest blockbuster, this is a star-studded story of female friendships, creative sparks about to ignite, and the power of women. Dazzling.

    Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World

    Melanie Benjamin’s The Girls in the Picture is a scintillating journey back in time to the gritty and glamorous days of old Hollywood. With elegant prose and delicious historical detail, Benjamin delivers a timely tale of female friendship—and the powerful duo who dared to dream beyond the narrow roles into which they’d been cast.

    Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Where the Light Falls and Sisi

    Set at the dawn of Hollywood, The Girls in the Picture explores the friendship between renowned starlet Mary Pickford and screenwriter Frances Marion. With the artistry for which she has become renowned, Melanie Benjamin has simultaneously created an insightful tale of the relationship between writer and muse and a breathtaking view into Hollywood’s most glittering era.

    Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

    [Melanie] Benjamin fully captures the giddy excitement of the blossoming movie business in the 1910s and 1920s and has chosen intriguingly flawed protagonists with compelling life stories that aren’t widely known today. This engrossing and rewarding read provides the same mixture of well-researched plot and fascinating characters [that has] made Benjamin’s previous novels so outstanding.

    Library Journal (starred review)

    Praise for The Swans of Fifth Avenue

    This moving fictionalization brings the whole cast of characters back to vivid life. Gossipy and fun, it’s also a nuanced look at the beauty and cruelty of a rarefied, bygone world.

    People

    A scandal for the ages.

    Cosmo

    The era and the sordid details come back to life in this jewel of a novel.

    O Magazine

    A delicious tale of when society gossip became an art form, a spectator sport, and eventually a lethal weapon. Melanie Benjamin has turned Truman Capote’s greatest scandal into your next must-read book club selection.

    Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

    I am reading—and swooning over—The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin, which releases next January. You probably know her from her last book, The Aviator’s Wife. It’s a juicy story of the friendship between Truman Capote and socialite Babe Paley. Her friends, known to Truman as ‘the Swans,’ include Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness and Pamela Churchill. The editor advised in her opening note that I would find myself googling all the characters as I read—and she has been soooo right.

    Book Reporter

    Melanie Benjamin's heart-rending story of Truman Capote's betrayal of the women who adored him is at once gossipy, intimate, poignant and astonishingly perceptive. Led along by Melanie's enviable gift for spinning a tale, I devoured this compulsively readable book in two sittings. I've told everyone I know to read Swans, because Melanie Benjamin is at the height of her storytelling prowess, with no end in sight.

    Robin Oliveira, bestselling author of I Always Loved You

    The strange and fascinating relationship between Truman Capote and his ‘swans’—Babe, Slim, Gloria and the other social x-ray women of the era are wonderfully re-imagined in this engrossing novel where everyone behaves so badly and yet has so much fun. It’s a credit to Benjamin that we end up caring so much for these women of power, grace and beauty—and for Capote, too.

    Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

    Praise for The Aviator’s Wife

    Talented historical novelist Benjamin has a knack for picking intriguing, if somewhat obscure, women in history and making them utterly unforgettable….Enthralling….In true Benjamin style, it’s Anne who captures us all in this exquisite fictional take on an iconic marriage.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    [Benjamin] delivers another stellar historical novel based on the experiences of an extraordinary woman…Fictional biography at its finest.

    Booklist (starred review)

    The history is exhilarating...The Aviator's Wife soars.

    USA Today

    Rich, heartbreaking....At once sweeping and intimate, this is a riveting portrait of a woman both shaped by and separate from her relationship with her extraordinary husband.

    Shelf Awareness
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