Exploring the Historical Plight of the Unwed Mother in Fiction
Lecture by Nellie Hermann, Creative Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and Fellow with the Institute for Ideas and Imagination.
Nellie Hermann’s current novel-in-progress, which she is working on at the Institute for Ideas & Imagination, is focused on the plight of the American unwed mother in the first half of the twentieth century. Her last novel, The Season of Migration, is a fictional exploration of the early life of Vincent van Gogh, set in Belgium in the late 19th century — a very different subject, but also a book for which she needed to do extensive research. In this talk, she will speak about the research she has done so far for her current project, and about the experiences and the challenges that arise for a novelist as one attempts to turn historical research into a work of fiction.