Dara Horn was born in New Jersey in 1977 and received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University in 2006, studying Hebrew and Yiddish. In 2007 she was chosen by Granta magazine as one of America's "Best Young American Novelists." Her first novel, In the Image, published by W.W. Norton when she was 25, received a 2003 National Jewish Book Award, the 2002 Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and the 2003 Reform Judaism Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The World to Come, published by W.W. Norton in 2006, received the 2006 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, the 2007 Harold U. Ribalow Prize, was selected as an Editors' Choice in The New York Times Book Review and as one of the Best Books of 2006 by The San Francisco Chronicle, and has been translated into eleven languages. Her third novel, All Other Nights, published in 2009 by W.W. Norton, was selected as an Editors' Choice in The New York Times Book Review and was one of Booklist's 25 Best Books of the Decade. In 2012, her nonfiction e-book The Rescuer was published by Tablet magazine and became a Kindle bestseller. Her newest novel, A Guide for the Perplexed, was published by W.W. Norton in September 2013. She has taught courses in Jewish literature and Israeli history at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence College, and City University of New York, and has lectured at over two hundred universities and cultural institutions throughout North America and in Israel. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.
Dara Horn's website
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Two separate interviews in which Dara Horn discusses All Other Nights and The World To Come.
An Interview with Dara Horn in which she suggests that historical novels are more about the time in which they are written than the time in which they take place. The Q&A ends with detailed examples of the ciphers used by both the North and South during the Civil War.
What attracted you to the idea of setting a book in the Civil War?
I think that every historical novel is really much more about the time in which it is written than the time in which it takes place, and that is very true for this book. The Civil War attracted me because of how polarized America has become in the past decade, and because of how impossible it has become even to have a conversation about current events without knowing in advance what the other person believes. The divide between conservatives and liberals, or "red states" and "blue states," really does go back to the Civil War in so many ways; the "red states" and "blue states" tend to follow the Mason-Dixon line and its legacies.
In 2002, after my first novel was published, I was invited to speak in New Orleans , and while I was there, I ...
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