Vanessa Manko biography

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Vanessa Manko

Vanessa Manko

Vanessa Manko Biography

Vanessa earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College where she was the recipient of a Hertog Fellowship. Prior to writing, Vanessa trained in ballet at the North Carolina School of the Arts and danced professionally before returning to school to earn her B.A. in English from the University of Connecticut.

She went on to receive her M.A. from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she focused on dance history and performance studies. Vanessa has taught writing at NYU and SUNY Purchase and she is the former Dance Editor of The Brooklyn Rail. An excerpt of The Invention of Exile, her first novel, was published in Granta 114, Exit Strategies in 2012. Originally from Brookfield, CT, Vanessa now lives in Brooklyn, New York. (From the author's website.)

Vanessa Manko's website

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Interview

Vanessa Manko discusses her debut novel, The Invention of Exile, inspired in part by her own family history, and a shameful episode in America's fight against communism.

What compelled you to write this book?
The novel is partly inspired by family history and focuses on the life of a grandfather I never knew. The true story came to me in bits and pieces throughout my childhood but was rarely discussed. I grew up believing that my grandmother just didn't have a husband, and then of course I figured out that that couldn't be the case and began asking questions. I became increasingly interested in Russian history, culture, and literature, and as I pieced together the historical and cultural context of my grandfather's life, I grew curious about the man himself. Who was he exactly? How did he think? What were his hopes and dreams, and, most important, what were his days like, living alone in Mexico City, separated from family, language, culture, and country? I became obsessed with discovering and inventing his character as a way to shade in the space of his absence from our lives, and from the life of my father, who grew up without him. Of course, the novel took on a life of its own, but a big reason I wanted to write this book was to find out who my grandfather was and what happened to him.

Austin is wrongly accused of being an anarchist and is deported as a result of the ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Vanessa Manko at BookBrowse
The Invention of Exile jacket
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