“I keep trying to write about utopia and end up writing about dystopia,” Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens, and The Country of Ice Cream Star has observed. Newman’s much anticipated Julia (October 2023), approved by Orwell’s estate, vividly reimagines the events of 1984 through the eyes of Winston Smith’s lover “..the girl from the Fiction Department”, rendering a feminist counterpoint to Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future. Newman joins us to discuss feminist revision and what it means to imagine dystopia in these strange days.
Sandra Newman’s most recent novel is Julia, a feminist retelling of George Orwell’s 1984 from the point of view of Winston’s girlfriend, Julia, which will be published in October 2023. Her four previous novels include The Heavens, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and The Country of Ice Cream Star, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and was a best book of the year for NPR, the Washington Post, and the Bookseller. Her nonfiction includes the bestselling writing guide How Not to Write a Novel (co-authored with Howard Mittelmark).
Darcey Steinke is the author of the memoir Easter Everywhere, Flash Count Diary and five novels: Sister Golden Hair, Milk, Jesus Saves, Suicide Blonde, and Up Through the Water. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her nonfiction has appeared widely. Her web story “Blindspot” was a part of the 2000 Whitney Biennial. She has been both a Henry Hoyns and a Stegner Fellow, and a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. She has taught at the New School, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York University, Princeton, and the American University of Paris. She lives with her husband in Brooklyn and Long Eddy, New York.