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Chris Bohjalian, photo by Victoria Blewer
Chris Bohjalian


NYS Writers Institute, April 25, 2013
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Ballroom, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of fifteen novels, will speak about The Sandcastle Girls (2012), his acclaimed new novel about the Armenian genocide, on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 8 p.m. in the Ballroom, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the uptown campus. The events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

"There's an eight year period where the book was clearly just percolating somewhere inside me, based on this diary." (1:47)

The Sandcastle GirlsChris Bohjalian,
bestselling writer, is the author most recently of the New York Times bestseller, The Sandcastle Girls (2012), an epic tale of the Armenian Genocide that mines Bohjalian’s own Armenian heritage (his grandparents survived the tragedy). Set at the turn of the century, the novel tells the tale of

Elizabeth Endicott, a young American social worker from a wealthy family, who— shortly after her graduation from Mt. Holyoke— volunteers with a Boston-based charity to work among Armenian refugees in Aleppo, Syria. There she meets and falls in love with Armen, an Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. The novel also follows the story of Laura Petrosian, Elizabeth’s granddaughter, a novelist living in Bronxville, New York, as she discovers buried family secrets nearly a century later.

Chris BohjalianNathalie Gorman of Oprah.com called The Sandcastle Girls, “A searing, tautly woven tale of war and the legacy it leaves behind. . . . A nuanced, sophisticated portrayal of what it means not only to endure, but to insist on hope.” Eugenia Zukerman of the Washington Post called it, “Staggering and utterly riveting,” and Elizabeth Dickie of Booklist said, “It will leave you reeling.”

Bohjalian achieved wide acclaim for his 1997 novel about the struggles of a modern-day midwife in rural Vermont, Midwives, an Oprah Book Club book and #1 New York Times bestseller that was adapted as a 2001 Lifetime Television movie starring Sissy Spacek. The Washington Post called it, “Astonishing,” and said, “it will keep readers up late at night until the last page is turned.”  

Chris BohjalianBohjalian’s previous novel was the gothic horror story, The Night Strangers (2011). Julie Wittes Schlack, reviewing for the Boston Globe, said that Bohjalian “earns a place alongside Stephen King… This ghost story is expertly and, at times, beautifully written, deliciously creepy, and, like a bag of trick-or-treat loot, silently calls out to you when it’s languishing on the night table.”

Bohjalian’s other novels include Secrets of Eden (2010), which was adapted as a Lifetime Television movie broadcast in February 2012, Skeletons at the Feast (2008), The Double Bind (2007) Before You Know Kindness (2004), The Buffalo Soldier (2002), Trans-Sister Radio (2000), and The Law of Similars (1999). His forthcoming book is The Light in the Ruins (July 2013), a tale of love, despair and revenge set in Tuscany during and shortly after the Second World War.

Bohjalian lives in Vermont and has been a columnist for the Burlington Free Press since 1992. Some of his newspaper pieces were collected for the book, Idyll Banter: Weekly Excursions to a Very Small Town (2003). Humorist Dave Barry said in advance praise, “Chris Bohjalian is a terrific columnist— thoughtful and thought-provoking. Just like me! No, really, this guy is good.”

Bohjalian last visited the Writers Institute in 2002.

Previous Visit: April 11, 2002

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.