Ruth Franklin

Join Us for a Special Zoom Workshop with Ruth Franklin

Please join us for a special Zoom workshop with Ruth Franklin as she discusses what biographers can learn about writing biography from closely reading one of her favorites, The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography (1934), in which A.J.A Symons attempts to chronicle the life of an elusive writer whom he discovers to be part priest, part con man. She will be interviewed by Anne Boyd Rioux.

This event will inaugurate a series of such discussions this winter and spring. Reading the book ahead of time will not be necessary for gaining insights about voice, structure, use of sources, and more. But if you can read at least part of it, that would surely enrich your experience. The event will also be recorded and available for later viewing.

To register and receive the link for the event, please go to https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkcuyrrjIiGt3_V5moWoENfhLhL0-Avx6G

Ruth Franklin is a book critic, biographer, and former editor at The New Republic. Her book Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life won numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and BIO’s Plutarch Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, a Time magazine top nonfiction book of 2016, and a “best book of 2016” by The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and others. She is also the author of A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction (2011), a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Writing. Her criticism and essays appear in many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Review of Books, and Harper’s. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in biography, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography, and the Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism.

Anne Boyd Rioux is a member of BIO’s Board of Directors and the author of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters (Norton 2018), chosen as one of the best books of 2018 by the Daily Mail, Library Journal, and A Mighty Girl. Her biography Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist was chosen by the Chicago Tribune as one of the ten best books of 2016. She is the recipient of four National Endowment for the Humanities awards, two for public scholarship. You can find her online at https://anneboydrioux.com/.

Podcast Episode #26 – 2019 BIO Conference Panel: Promoting Your Biography

This week’s episode features highlights of a panel from the 2019 BIO Conference, “Promoting Your Biography,” with moderator Ruth Franklin and panelists Dan Blank, Melinda Ponder, and Declan Taintor.

 

Podcast Episode #25 – 2019 BIO Conference Panel: Fire Up Your Narrative

This week’s episode features highlights from a panel from the 2019 BIO Conference, “Fire Up Your Narrative,” with moderator Linda Leavell and panelists John A. Farrell, Ruth Franklin, Caroline Fraser,  and Tom Reiss.

Ruth Franklin Wins 2017 Plutarch Award

Ruth Franklin received the 2017 Plutarch Award from Plutarch Award Committee chair John A. Farrell.

Ruth Franklin won the 2017 Plutarch Award for Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. Members of Biographers International Organization selected the winning book, which was announced at the Eighth Annual BIO Conference on May 20 at Emerson College in Boston. The Shirley Jackson bio had previously won several other honors, most notably the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography.

Offering her thanks for the award, Franklin said, “It’s really humbling to receive an award named after Plutarch.” She said that before this year’s event in Boston, she looked back at her notes from past conferences and realized how much she had learned from so many of the people with her in the room. Being part of BIO and a women’s biographers group in New York has shown her, “We aren’t in any way alone in what we do.”

At her first BIO Conference in 2014, Franklin said, she was too shy and intimidated to introduce herself to the big-name biographers she found herself surrounded by; she just “gazed adoringly” at Stacy Schiff, that year’s BIO Award winner, which Franklin joked might have led Schiff to believe she was a stalker. Now, Franklin is preparing an interview with Schiff for the Paris Review. She said she and Schiff discussed how there’s no instruction manual for biographers, everyone approaches the craft a little differently, and that biographers “all have to learn from each other.”

The Plutarch Award Committee originally chose ten semi-finalists before selecting four finalists for the 2017 prize. The other finalists were:

  • Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey by Frances Wilson
  • Hitler: Ascent, 1889–1939 by Volker Ullrich, translated by Jefferson Chase
  • Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas

You can see the complete list of this year’s semi-finalists and past winners here

.