New books and projects by Paris writing workshop graduates

Lucretia Grindle with visiting writer Jeffrey Tayler in 2010.

This August, MacMillan U.K. will publish The Lost Daughter, by Lucretia Grindle (PAA '08 and '10). Based around the Aldo Moro kidnapping of 1978, The Lost Daughter is both a thriller and love story that deals with the all-too contemporary issues of terrorism and police powers. Lucretia was working on this book last summer while she was a PAA Fellow. "My first experience in Paris, in 2008, led directly to [my previous novel] The Villa Triste," Lucretia says. "While in Paris last summer, in 2010, the workshops and discussion not only fed into the manuscript for The Lost Daughter, but were enormously helpful in bringing depth and focus to the story." Lucretia began to work in nonfiction in Paris in 2008, and sharpened her focus in 2010. She will be returning in 2011 as a Senior Fellow, before beginning the University of Iowa's elite Non-Fiction Writing Program in the fall. "Although I always enjoyed nonfiction," Lucretia says, "I had never tried working in the genre seriously until I came to Paris. The nonfiction workshops of 2008 and 2010 led directly to my applying to Iowa. Without the encouragement and support of the Paris faculty, I never would have dared to write the application. Both of the pieces I sent in came directly out of the Paris nonfiction workshop. Let's hope this summer proves just as productive!"

Vida, the fiction debut of Patricia Engel (PAA '03) attracted enthusiastic praise from American book critics upon its release by Grove/Atlantic last fall. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times wrote, "the stories in Patricia Engel's striking debut collection are like snapshots from someone's photo album: glimpses of relatives, friends, lovers and acquaintances, sometimes posing, sometimes caught by the camera unawares. What makes Sabina’s coming-of-age story so compelling is the arresting voice Ms. Engel has fashioned for her: a voice that's immediate, unsentimental and disarmingly direct." Ariel Gonzalez of The Miami Herald called Vida "lean and tight...Engel maintains an energetic voice and a cohesive structure. Her no-nonsense, minimalist style glints like the top of a Hemingwayesque iceberg." Molly Young of The Economist wrote, "the titular story is a near-perfect piece of fiction. Vida is the literary equivalent of interacting with someone who maintains unceasing eye contact—compelling, impressive and a little unnerving." And, in the New York Times Book Review, Sophia Lear called Vida "Understated...Arresting...A tingle of recognition builds as detail after detail sings with the veracity of real life...It’s the true-to-life version of the The Virgin Suicides, as vivid and revealing, in its way, as Jeffrey Eugenides's novel." In addition to winning a Florida Book Award, Vida was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2010, earmarked for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, and optioned for development as a motion picture.

Rea Frey (PAA '07) has a new book coming out from Adams Media. Entitled The Cheat Sheet, it mixes stories and advice on "how to catch a cheat in the act; which rules cheaters live by; how to deflect a cheater's advances; how to forgive; and when there's no choice but to forget and move on."

Malia Yoshioka (PAA '08) has been signed on to write and edit's Hawaii guide.

Actor and comedian Julia Zemiro (PAA '10) continues to host the popular Australian TV show RocKwiz. She recently mentioned her PAA experience in an interview with the Melbourne Times Weekly. "If you're going to write, why not write in Paris?" she said. "I like writing for the sake of it, and the course was a resource to keep it up. I don't necessarily need to be published or write a film script, but it was a wonderful experience, and to walk around the city was like a little fantasy.'"