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Amanda_R
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Registered: ‎09-25-2006
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About the Book and Author

[ Edited ]

Tracy Chevalier and Burning Bright

Author Photo: Tracy Chevalier Burning Bright follows the Kellaway family as they leave behind tragedy in rural Dorset and come to late 18th-century London. As they move in next door to the radical painter/poet William Blake, and take up work for a near-by circus impresario, the youngest family member gets to know a girl his age. Embodying opposite characteristics - Maggie Butterfield is a dark-haired, streetwise extrovert, Jem Kellaway a quiet blond introvert - the children form a strong bond while getting to know their unusual neighbor and his wife. Set against the backdrop of a city nervous of the revolution gone sour across the Channel in France, Burning Bright explores the states of innocence and experience just as Blake takes on similar themes in his best-known poems, Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

An Autobiographical Note from Tracy Chevalier: I was born and grew up in Washington, DC. After getting a BA in English from Oberlin College (Ohio), I moved to London, England in 1984. I intended to stay 6 months; I'm still here.

As a kid I'd often said I wanted to be a writer because I loved books and wanted to be associated with them. I wrote the odd story in high school, but it was only in my twenties that I started writing 'real' stories, at night and on weekends. Sometimes I wrote a story in a couple evenings; other times it took me a whole year to complete one.

Once I took a night class in creative writing, and a story I'd written for it was published in a London-based magazine called Fiction. I was thrilled, even though the magazine folded 4 months later.

I worked as a reference book editor for several years until 1993 when I left my job and did a year-long MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (England). My tutors were the English novelists Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. For the first time in my life I was expected to write every day, and I found liked it. I also finally had an idea I considered 'big' enough to fill a novel. I began The Virgin Blue during that year, and continued it once the course was over, juggling writing with freelance editing.

I began to write full-time with Girl with a Pearl Earring, and have since juggled a writing career with motherhood.

Discover all titles and editions from Tracy Chevalier.

Message Edited by Amanda_R on 08-15-2007 11:32 AM

Contributor
jardine
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Registered: ‎04-26-2007
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Re: About the Book and Author

"Burning Bright" is a complete change from Tracy Chevalier's previous books in the sense that she used a third-person narrator for the first time. It was striking and very disturbing to start with - but one gets used to it after a few pages. A friend of mine also told me that she found the number of characters confusing at first - but I find it gives a much wider perspective to the plot, a bit like in "Falling Angels". I also think Tracy Chevalier offered us a very moving representation of London in the late 18th century.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: About the Book and Author



jardine wrote:
"Burning Bright" is a complete change from Tracy Chevalier's previous books in the sense that she used a third-person narrator for the first time. It was striking and very disturbing to start with - but one gets used to it after a few pages. A friend of mine also told me that she found the number of characters confusing at first - but I find it gives a much wider perspective to the plot, a bit like in "Falling Angels". I also think Tracy Chevalier offered us a very moving representation of London in the late 18th century.




Yes, I too, know I will treasure this read as much as her others. I loved "girl with a pearl earring'. It was so heartwrenching. Can't wait to get my book and get started.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
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Tracy's tutors

Tracy wrote: My tutors were the English novelists Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain.



Yay! :smileyhappy: You didn't miss the train. It must have been great.

ziki
Author
TracyC
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-19-2007
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Re: Tracy's tutors

Yes, Rose and Malcolm were good. But the best thing about that year was simply being expected to write every day. It felt weird at first (I had been working full-time and writing was very much shoved into odd free moments) but then I got to liking it. Plus there were deadlines and a critical audience, and that helped too. I did notice that of the 18 of us, the older students - those who had been out working in the real world and so were used to goals and deadlines - got more done than the younger kids who had just finished their BA. If possible, I think people wanting to do an MA in creative writing should get out into the world for a while, and accumulate experiences to write about!
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