Oberlin Online
News & Features
 Contact  Directories  Search  Oberlin Online
    Talking Shop with Author Tracy Chevalier '84
    by Sue Angell
     
Audio Excerpts
from a public reading during Chevalier's visit to campus
Chevalier during book signing at the Oberlin Bookstore
Chevalier during a book signing at the Oberlin bookstore
November 20, 2003–On an unseasonably warm November weekend, best-selling author and alumna Tracy Chevalier '84 returned to campus. The stop was part of an 11-day U.S. book tour to promote her latest novel, The Lady and the Unicorn, which will be published in the United States this coming January.

Chevalier is the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, the widely acclaimed historical novel about the life of a servant girl in 17th-century Holland and her relationship with the painter Jan Vermeer. Girl has sold more than two million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 21 different languages. It has also been made into a major motion picture starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson.

"The movie and the book are like sisters," Chevalier says. "They may look a bit different from each other, but you can definitely tell they are in the same family."

The success of Girl has made the characteristically modest Chevalier the focus of widespread media attention. Still, the author maintained an unassuming attitude during her campus visit, greeting and talking with each individual at her book signing and wandering around campus unescorted between lectures and readings.

During her visit, Chevalier gave a talk to the Oberlin College Friends of the Library. Titled "Worth Their Weight in Books: Keeping Libraries Relevant," her presentation focused on how the role of the library has changed now that books are widely available to consumers and the Internet has revolutionized the research process. "People today are information rich and time poor," says Chevalier. "It seems that the Internet has become primarily about searching, rather than about finding. Mrs. Google has replaced the local librarian, and the community that libraries once provided is in danger of being lost."

A Conversation with Tracy Chevalier
Though Chevalier's visit was short, she made time to talk to Oberlin Online about her recent projects, the film version of Girl with a Pearl Earring, and the craft of writing—as well as to reminisce about her student days at Oberlin.
Read the transcription of the interview.

    
   
copyright line comments Directories search ochome