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Marisa Silver  

Author of New York Times Bestseller "Mary Coin"

Marisa Silver is the author, most recently, of the novel, "Mary Coin," a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award for Fiction. She is also the author of two previous novels, "No Direction Home" and "The God of War," which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction. Her first collection of short stories, "Babe in Paradise" was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. When her second collection, "Alone With You" was published, The New York Times called her “one of California’s most celebrated contemporary writers.” Silver made her fiction debut in The New Yorker when she was featured in that magazine’s first “Debut Fiction” issue. Winner of the O. Henry Prize, her fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, as well as other anthologies.

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Speech Topics


A Picture is worth 100,000 words – more or less

Marisa Silver’s bestselling novel, Mary Coin, takes as its inspiration Dorothea Lange’s most famous photograph, “Migrant Mother.” When Silver discovered that the woman in the photograph had never laid claim to her identity until the time of her death, and was, for all intents and purposes, an anonymous figure in American history, she felt compelled to create a fictional version of what this woman’s life might have been. This talk will lead audiences through the process by which Silver created fiction out of history. While exploring the real lives of the women involved in the picture’s making, Silver will also discuss how we look at photography, and whether or not a picture can reveal the truth.

From Film to Fiction

Marisa Silver began her career as an award-winning filmmaker. In this lecture she will discuss her transition to becoming a bestselling fiction writer. She will talk about how she came to make what to many seemed like an unlikely decision—to leave the glamorous world of Hollywood for the unglamorous world of the desk in her bedroom.

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