Bestselling novelist, library favorite, author of The Arsonist
Photo credit: Elena Seibert
About Sue Miller
Sue Miller has written a collection of short stories, a memoir, and ten novels, including While I was Gone, The Good Mother, The Senator’s Wife, and most recently, The Arsonist. Miller is well-known for her skill as a chronicler of family life and gives thoughtful and stimulating lectures about the role of human nature in her work.
Miller’s work has been widely translated and published in 22 countries. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, the Carl Sandburg Prize from the Chicago Public Library, and the Kate Chopin Prize. She has been short-listed for a National Book Critics Circle Award and nominated for The Orange Prize. She was on the Board of PEN New England for 10 years, and was its chair for four.
Miller speaks about her life as a writer, and the journey that led her to becoming a successful, consistent, and dedicated author. Currently the Lakes Writer-in-Residence at Smith College, Miller has taught fiction at Amherst, Bennington, Tufts, and MIT, among other places.
How to Invent People
How do characters come to life? How do you make them real? Miller will talk about several of the characters from her fiction and how they changed as she created them—including the main character in The Good Mother, the murderer in While I Was Gone, and the senator’s wife in The Senator’s Wife.
Miller will discuss her own relationship with narrative forms, starting with the sermons she grew up listening to—her father, both her grandfathers, and two of her great-grandfathers were preachers. Along the way she’ll look at a range of ways of structuring a narrative and talk about her development as a storyteller.
Autobiography and Fiction
John Cheever once said, “Any confusion between autobiography and fiction debases fiction.” Yet all writers use elements from their own lives as well as from other people’s. In this lecture, Miller will talk about the transformation of autobiographical material into fiction, and the differences between the two—in others’ writing and in her own, looking at both her fiction and her memoir about her father.
Praise for Sue Miller
Praise for The Arsonist
Thoughtful intense...An ambitious, big-issue novel...The Arsonist takes place far removed from national news or world conflicts, but it, too, reflects the most urgent matters of our time...When even mentioning the widening distance between the classes is considered an act of class warfare, it’s encouraging to watch Miller’s novel negotiate this awkward fact of American life... The continuing miracle of Miller’s compelling storytelling [is] she knows these people matter, and as she moves gently from one character's perspective to another, her sensitive delineation of their lives convinces us of that, too.— The Washington Post
A provocative novel about the boundaries of relationships and the tenuous alliance between locals and summer residents when a crisis is at hand...Miller, a pro at explicating family relationships as well as the fragile underpinnings of mature romance, brilliantly explores how her characters define what 'home' means to them and the lengths they will go to protect it.— Publishers Weekly
Entertaining and highly readable...Miller’s scenes are terrific. She is expert at moving people in and out of rooms in a visual and easy way [and] describing physical chemistry and attraction in a way that manages to avoid all cliché...Fantastic sizzle, both sexual and spiritual...A cracking good romance...Will keep you reading.— Boston Globe
With her trademark elegant prose and masterful command of subtle psychological nuance, Miller explores the tensions between the summer people and the locals in a small New Hampshire town...In this suspenseful and romantic novel, Miller delicately parses the value of commitment and community, the risky nature of relationships, and the yearning for meaningful work.— Booklist
Books by Sue Miller
Media About Sue Miller
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- Sue Miller travels from Boston, MA