In this thoughtful Writers Studio, award-winning author Sigrid Nunez gives a close reading and discussion of her “hybrid” novel, The Last of Her Kind, which takes place amidst the social upheavals of the 60s and early 70s. Co-host Kim Malcolm notes how much the work “feels like a memoir” for its historical accuracy, sociological commentary, and allusions to Vietnam, Kennedy, and, indirectly, Patty Hearst. Examining the close friendship between two very different women attending Barnard College, her novel becomes a commentary on where those times have landed us, from a sincerely felt “counter culture” hungering for truth to a near-pandemic craving for the artificiality of wealth and beauty.
Nunez’s talk also explores the clashes of cultures, the romanticism of poverty as a type of innocence, and more humorously, the “terrors” of the “workshop method.”
Nunez is the author of five novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, finalist for both the PEN / Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Award and recipient of the Association for Asian American Studies Award for “Best Novel of the Year.” She is widely published and the winner of two Pushcart Prizes and a Whiting Award.
Truly a writer of the world, Nunez has been honored with residencies and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy in Rome, the American Academy in Berlin, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.