We last talked with author Christine Sneed back in early 2011 shortly after she published her first short story collection Portraits of A Few of the People I’ve Made Cry. Already the winner of the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, her stunning debut became a magnet for literary awards and was eventually named a finalist for the LA Times’ Book Prize for First Fiction. But Sneed was just getting started. In the years that followed, the NU writing teacher has published two critically-acclaimed novels – Little Known Facts (2013) and Paris, He Said (2015), graced the cover of the NY Times Book Review, and continued to collect writing honors including the Carl Sandburg 21st Century Award and a Booklist nod for a Top Ten Debut Novel. This Saturday, April 9th, you can hear Sneed read selections from her recent work when she visits EPL’s 1st Floor Community Meeting Room at 4 pm along with author and comedienne Julia Sweeney. In anticipation of her visit, we recently spoke with her via email about the life of a successful novelist, her forthcoming story collection The Virginity of Famous Men, the resurgence of short fiction, and her favorite recent reads.
My name is Christine Sneed. I am the author of the novel Little Known Facts, the story collection Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, and the forthcoming novel Paris, He Said (May 2015). I am the recipient of the Grace Paley Prize in short fiction, the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award, and the Society of Midland Authors Prize for best adult fiction. I live in Evanston and teach for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and for Northwestern University.
1) Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff (2009)
There are nine stories in this book, if I remember correctly, and several are based on the lives of real people; Groff is such a lyrical writer, often slyly funny, always interesting. Some of the stories were published in The Best American Short Stories anthology, and she’s also contributed to the O. Henry Prize Stories anthology. Her third book, the novel Arcadia, was on many best-of lists of 2012, and her first book (and first novel), The Monsters of Templeton, was also well reviewed and was a bestseller.
Isabel Allende and Michael Lewis have won this year’s prestigious Carl Sandburg Literary Awards, presented by the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Chicago Public Library. The annual award “honors an author whose significant body of work has enhanced the public’s awareness of the written word.” Evanston-based author Christine Sneed will be also be honored with the 21st Century Award which “honors a significant recent achievement in writing by a Chicago-area writer.” She will be at the Evanston Public Library this Saturday, April 13 reading from her first novel Little Known Facts. You can check here for more information on Saturday’s event. The awards will be held Oct. 23 on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. You can also check the EPL catalog for books by Allende and Lewis.
Christine Sneed is a local author clearly hitting her stride. This past November the DePaul University professor published her debut short story collection Portraits of A Few of the People I’ve Made Cry to glowing reviews after first claiming the 2009 Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction. Praised by Booklist as “an exceptionally smart” collection written with a “supple mix of wit, frankness, and compassion,” Portraits features ten provocative stories that explore the complexities of romantic love and fame and was recently named a finalist for the 2010 LA Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. On Sunday, March 13th, you can hear Ms. Sneed read from Portraits when she visits EPL’s 1st Floor Community Meeting Room at 2 p.m. along with fellow local authors Pamela Ferdinand and Suzanne Clores. In anticipation of her visit, we recently spoke with her via email about the positive response to Portraits, the nature of celebrity, the state of short fiction, and her work on both a novel and new story collection. Continue reading “An Interview with Christine Sneed”