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Valerie Martin


Valerie Martin

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Full Name: Valerie Martin
Pseudonym:
Born: March 14, 1948
Sedalia, Missouri
Occupation: Writer
Nationality: American
Links:



Biography

I was born in Sedalia, Missouri, but my family moved to New Orleans, my mother's home town, when I was three, so I think of myself as from New Orleans. There I attended public and parochial schools, and started college at the University of New Orleans, a new branch of the state system, housed in an abandoned naval base. It was at UNO that I began to write and to read the novels that would provide me with the thematic material that has sustained me all these years. Flaubert's Madame Bovary, a cautionary tale about a foolish woman whose Romantic education ill fits her for her very ordinary life, was, perhaps, the most important influence. As a New Orleanian I was naturally drawn to all things romantic, spooky, and gothic, but in reading Flaubert, and later Albert Camus and American realists like Stephen Crane, I felt a strong attraction to realism, both as a method and as a world view. I didn't want to wind up like Emma Bovary.

And so I went North to graduate school at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where I received an MFA in Creative Writing in 1974, and set out on my quest to de-romanticize the world in my fiction. My first novel, Set in Motion, was published in 1978, after I had moved back to New Orleans and taken a job at the State Welfare department. Other novels and collections of short stories followed, and my teaching career took me to various institutions: the University of New Mexico at Las Cruces, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, back to my alma mater the University of New Orleans, Mt. Holyoke College, back to my second alma mater the University of Massachusetts, Sarah Lawrence College and in the fall of 2009, after a twenty year absence, back to Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Between 1994 and 1997 I lived in Italy, the setting of my novel Italian Fever and a biography, Salvation; Scenes from the life of St. Francis.

I am the author of nine novels, three collections of short stories, and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi. In 1990, my novel Mary Reilly, which purports to be the diary of Dr. Jekyll's housemaid, won the Kafka prize, was translated into 16 languages, and, some years thereafter, was the subject of a film directed by Stephen Frears. My novel Property, narrated by another voice from the past, that of a woman slave-owner in antebellum New Orleans, won Britain's Orange Prize, was short-listed for France's Prix Femina Etranger, and placed on the long list for Ireland's Impac award.

For the past fourteen years I have lived in upstate New York, with my partner John Cullen. I have one daughter, Adrienne Martin, who is a professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.


Works in the WWEnd Database

 Non Series Works

 (1990)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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