Author Talk with Maggie Shipstead of Great Circle

Presented on: September 27th at 2:00 PM EDT




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Great Circle tells the unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost. After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There–after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes–Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles. A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian’s own story, as the two women’s fates–and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times–collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead.

Maggie Shipstead is the New York Times best- selling author of three novels—Great Circle, Seating Arrangements, and Astonish Me—and the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. Great Circle was a finalist for the 2021 Booker Prize. Shipstead lives in Los Angeles. Her first short story collection, You Have a Friend in 10A, will be published by Knopf in May 2022.


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