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Season 3, Episode 7: Novelist Anthony Marra

Born in Washington, D.C., Anthony Marra won the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award prize in fiction for “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” – his first novel that astonished critics with its verve and skill. The story, set in Chechnya, unfolds through the interlocking lives of six characters. And given the war in Ukraine, it remains uncannily topical.

Madison Smartt Bell, himself an Anisfield-Wolf winner, wrote “This novel is, among other things, a meditation on the use and abuse of history, and an inquiry into the extent to which acts of memory may also constitute acts of survival.”

The Asterisk* caught up with Marra in December 2022 in Iowa City, Iowa, where he was teaching at the University of Iowa following the release of his third book – “Mercury Pictures Presents” – in July 2022. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife Kappy Mintie, a senior researcher at Yale’s Lens Media Lab. Marra earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s from the Iowa Writers Workshop.

View a transcript of this episode