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Stephen Dau biography

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Stephen Dau
Photo: C. Zakariya-Dau

Stephen Dau

Stephen Dau Biography

Stephen Dau is originally from western Pennsylvania. He worked for ten years in postwar reconstruction and international development before studying creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and Bennington College, where he received an MFA. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on MSNBC, and elsewhere. Dau lives in Brussels, Belgium, with his family. The Book of Jonas is his first novel.

Stephen Dau's website

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Interview

Author Stephen Dau discusses the inspiration behind his debut novel, The Book of Jonas and how his work in international development has influenced his writing.

  • Why did you give the book's sectional titles religious resonances: Processional, Invocation, Remembrance, Communion, Confession, Atonement, Benediction, Recessional? Did you intend the book to have an essentially religious trajectory and for readers to consider the parallels between the novel's protagonist and the biblical Jonah?
    I've heard someone say that it's reminiscent of a Catholic mass. I was brought up Presbyterian, and so it reminds me of a Presbyterian church service. Part of this device is practical. The story needed a structure, and the structure of a religious service allows for a certain amount of flexibility while still imposing an overall form. Beyond practical considerations, I came to see the book, or at least the act of writing it, a little bit like a prayer. That is the best way I can describe it. The religious imagery flowed out of that. The idea of sacrifice flowed out of that. The section titles flowed out of that. That's the best explanation I can give for it. It's a sort of prayer.

  • How has your work in postwar reconstruction and international development influenced the writing of The Book of Jonas?
    Working in development certainly influenced my fiction, mostly by giving me access to the ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Stephen Dau at BookBrowse
The Book of Jonas jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Stephen Dau but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Ishmael Beah

    Ishmael Beah

    Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Book of Jonas

    Try:
    A Long Way Gone
    by Ishmael Beah

  • Chris Cleave

    Chris Cleave

    Chris Cleave is a novelist and a columnist for The Guardian newspaper in London.

    His debut novel Incendiary won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, won the United States... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Book of Jonas

    Try:
    Little Bee
    by Chris Cleave

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