Francine Prose biography

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Francine Prose
© Marion Ettinger

Francine Prose

Francine Prose Biography

Francine Prose is the author of several novels, non-fiction books, and short story collections. She is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College, and was formerly president of PEN American Center, a New York City-based literary society of writers, editors and translators that works to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.

She received the PEN Translation Prize in 1988 and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. Prose's novel The Glorious Ones has been adapted into a musical with the same title. Her more recent works include My New American Life (2011), The Turning (2012) and Lovers at the Chameleon Club (2014).

Francine Prose's website

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Interview

Francine Prose discusses our obsession with celebrity and redemption and why she feels that we are losing an important part of our culture - the ability to feel that others are human beings just as we are, though they may look different and have a different set of beliefs.

You open your novel A Changed Man with a character most of your readers probably have never met: the ex-skinhead Vincent Nolan. Was this "changed man" the inspiration for the book?
I certainly began with him. I was on the subway in New York once, and I saw these two very young skinheads -- all dressed up, with jackboots and shaved heads -- and I noticed that they looked terrified, like they'd been dropped from Mars. It was very clear to me that they were out of their element; this was not their home territory at all. That made me curious about who they were and what kind of people they were. Then I began to do research.

It's strange how life imitates art. Later I was in an elevator in Manhattan, and there was a middle-aged guy with his hair growing over tattoos on his head -- it looked as if a swastika had been there, and the laser removal hadn't done a good job. I thought this is my character, 10 years later.

Were there other topics you were keeping in mind as you wrote?
My aim was to write about this character, but I wasn't necessarily writing about neo-Nazis. I was writing about what it means to be a good person, what it means to change -- and how our culture hypes this change, this growing. As I...

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Books by this Author

Books by Francine Prose at BookBrowse
What to Read and Why jacket Mister Monkey jacket Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 jacket Goldengrove jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Francine Prose 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.
How we choose readalikes

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    If you enjoyed:
    A Changed Man

    Try:
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  • Alan Furst

    Alan Furst

    Alan Furst was born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. An only child with older parents, he wandered alone or with friends around New York and learned to love the city and its people. He attended Oberlin College,... (more)

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Book Discussion
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A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

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