Lauren Belfer was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in Buffalo, where she attended the Buffalo Seminary. At Swarthmore College, she majored in Medieval Studies. After graduating, she worked as a file clerk at an art gallery, a paralegal, an assistant photo editor at a newspaper, a fact checker at magazines, and as a researcher and associate producer on documentary films. She has an M.F.A. from Columbia University.
Her debut novel,City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller, as well as a number one Book Sense pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award nominee, a New York Times Notable Book, a Library Journal Best Book, and a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. City of Light was a bestseller in Great Britain and has been translated into seven languages.
Belfer's fiction has also been published in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and Henfield Prize Stories. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere.
She lives in New York City.
Lauren Belfer's website
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Tell us the story behind the story. What was the inspiration behind A Fierce Radiance
On her bureau, my aunt kept a photo of her brother in the 1920s, when he was 9 or 10 years old, a blond boy paddling a canoe with his father, both of them laughing, in high spirits. This was the last photo she had of him, for he died at age 11 from a fast-moving infection contracted after a Fourth of July celebration. Antibiotics probably would have saved his life - except antibiotics didn't exist then.
Even sixty years after his death, my aunt mourned him. She reflected on the future he was denied and told me about the never-ending anguish of her parents. The light and happiness went out of her parents' spirits after he died, she said, and she grew up in a home filled with sadness. Her mother never hugged her again, and her father slipped into depression. I wondered how different my aunt's life would have been, and the lives of her parents, if he'd survived. When I spoke to friends about this story, they often responded by telling me stories of their own: about a grandmother or grandfather, an aunt or uncle, a brother or sister, son or daughter, who died from a sore throat, or from the scratch of a rose thorn, or from a blister caused by new ...
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