An instructor for the Writers in Paradise conference at Eckerd College, Dean will read tonight in its Evening Readings series. Dean spent about 10 years as an actor in New York before turning to writing as a career. Dean lives with her husband, poet Clifford Paul Fetters, in Miami, where she teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University. Her first novel, The Madonnas of Leningrad, was voted a New York Times Editors' Choice and has been published in 17 languages. Her next novel, The Mirrored World, is due from Harper this summer.
What's on your nightstand?
First, there's James Salter's Light Years. It is about the dissolution of the perfect marriage. The couple is very devoted to having these beautiful lives. They're both a little bit shallow, but the way he writes makes these characters shallow in an interesting way.
What else is on your nightstand?
New York in the Fifties by Dan Wakefield. He recently retired from FIU. It came out many years ago, but I'm reading it for research for my next book. I've also got A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert. I kept hearing her name so I want to read her. And then there's Queen of America by Luis Alberto Urrea.
You said you're reading the book on New York for an upcoming project. What is it?
I'm researching and writing for a nonfiction book based in Greenwich Village. It's a biographical account of the lives of three artists and a polygamist marriage. Each of these artists had amazing lives.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer