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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chronicling others' lives


“No one sits on the stoop when she's a kid and thinks, 'I want to be a biographer when I grow up.” – Stacy Schiff

But, that career path has been a good one for Schiff, who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for Vera, a biography of Vera Nabokov, wife and muse of Vladimir Nabokov.  She was also a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Saint-Exupéry: A Biography about French writer and adventurer Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

A native of Massachusetts, Schiff (whose birthday was earlier this week) also has won a number of other awards for her biographical works on Benjamin Franklin and Cleopatra, and this summer she was presented with the Newberry Library Award for her body of writing.  But, despite her many awards, she said that biographers, including herself, aren’t always objective in their work.

“Oh, I don't think there is ever objective biography,” she insisted.  “Our vision of our subject is always shaped by who we are. So I do, of course, think the biographer's view is always something to keep in mind.”

Stacy Schiff


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