2019 History Book Festival Closing Address
Featuring Alice Hoffman
Bestselling author of The World That We Knew (Simon & Schuster, 2019)
Interviewed by Maribeth Fischer, founder of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild.
Born in New York City and educated at Adelphi (B.A.) and Stanford (M.A. in creative writing),
Alice Hoffman wrote her first novel at 21, seeing it published by Farrar Straus and Giroux shortly thereafter. She has gone on to publish over 30 novels, three books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults, with more than 20 translations and over 100 foreign editions. Known for their deep humanity colored by magical realism, several of her novels have been rendered into screenplays and have been listed as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. Hoffman’s novel The Dovekeepers, which is the story of the survivors of Masada and considered by many to be her masterpiece, was hailed as “... a major contribution to twenty-first century literature,” by Toni Morrison.
In The World That We Knew Hoffman tells the story of the Jewish experience in France during World War II through the eyes of three young women whose fates are inextricably tied by the horror of their circumstances, the strength of love, and the deep mysticism of their faith in God and themselves. The tale is knit together with courage and sacrifice, devotion and loss, and with the boundless optimism and determination of youth in the face of unrelenting challenge.
A loving mother faces unspeakable sacrifice, a rabbi’s daughter audaciously reaches beyond her circumstances, young women and men come of age in the throes of turmoil, and a mystical golem is given life. As Jodi Picoult said, “Alice Hoffman’s new novel will break your heart, and then stitch it back together piece by piece. It’s about love and loss, about history and
the world today, about what happens when man goes against the laws of nature for good and for evil. It’s my new favorite Hoffman book—and if you know how much I adore her writing, that’s truly saying something.”
Hoffman will be interviewed by Maribeth Fischer, who leads the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild which she founded in 2005. Maribeth and the Guild have been at the center of an increasingly vibrant writing community here at the Delaware Beaches. She is the author of two novels, The Language of Goodbye (Dutton, 2001) and The Life You Longed For (Simon & Schuster, 2007). She has published essays in such journals as The Iowa Review and The Yale Review and has received two Pushcart Prizes.