In Conversation: Helen Benedict & Terese Svoboda
Thursday September 15, 2011
Authors Helen Benedict (Sand Queen) and Terese Svoboda (Bohemian Girl) came together to discuss their new books, writing, and life.
Helen Benedict is the author of five novels and five books of nonfiction. Her sixth novel, Sand Queen is based on her research for her most recent nonfiction book, The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq (Beacon Press, 2009 and 2010). Benedict has won three major awards for her work on soldiers: The 2010 Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women's Political Caucus, The Ken Book Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness for 2010, and the 2008 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. She has testified twice to Congress on behalf of women in the military. She is a professor of journalism at Columbia University.
A native of Ogallala, Nebraska, Terese Svoboda graduated from the University of British Columbia and Columbia University, where she received her M.A. She lived for a year in the Sudan, making documentary films and translating the songs of the Nuer people. Her first novel, Cannibal, won the Bobst Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writer's Award. It was chosen as one of the top ten books of the year by Spin magazine and hailed as a "women's 'Heart of Darkness'" by Vogue. Her story "Party Girl" was a finalist in the 1995 Mississippi Review Prize competition. Black Glasses Like Clark Kent won the 2007 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Antioch Review, APR, Columbia, Conjunctions, Georgetown Review, Harper's, Paris Review, The New Yorker, Noon, Ohio Review, Vogue, and The Wall Street Journal. Her other books include Treason, A Drink Called Paradise, and Trailer Girl and Other Stories. Her poetry videos have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and on PBS. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, The New School, the University of Hawaii, Williams College, San Francisco State University, and the College of William and Mary. She lives with her husband and children in New York City.