Amy Bloom, a psychotherapist for more than 20 years,
is the author of two novels and three collections of short stories, and a nominee
for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her
stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O.
Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies in the United States and abroad. She has written for the
New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate, and
Salon, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award. Her
first book of nonfiction, Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops, and
Hermaphrodites with Attitude, is an exploration of the varieties of gender.
A practicing psychotherapist, she lives in Connecticut and teaches at Yale
Come to Me (Collection, 1993)
Love Invents Us (Novel 1997)
A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You (2000)
Normal: Transsexual CEOS, Crossdressing Cops, and Hermaphrodites With Attitude (NF, 2002)
Away (Novel, 2007)
Where the God of Love Hangs Out (2009) (short stories)
This biography was last updated on 08/24/2011.
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Amy Bloom explains how a long night of dictation to a former student, plus a bottle of wine, led to the creation of Away, an epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent and accidental heroine.
Random House Reader's Circle: Away is loosely based on a real
woman in history. Can you tell us a bit about her life, and how you came upon
her story? Ultimately, how did you make her story your own?
Amy Bloom: I don't know that I'd call Lillian Alling a "real woman in history." There've always been bits and fragments of a story about a foreign woman, mute or silent by choice, who came up the Telegraph Trail, determined to walk to Russia. There are no records of her arriving in Ellis Island and no records of her life in Alaska and, of course, one of the first questions is: If she didn't speak, how did they know where she was going? I ignored all the fanciful parts and also all the shoddy investigations into her story (this was the golden age of yellow journalismwhen whole wars were made up to sell papers) and thought instead: If you weren't crazy or particularly adventurous, why would you make this extraordinary trip? And I thought, I would only do it for love.
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