February 27, 2024

Author of “Station Eleven” visits UT, discusses novel set in post-apocalyptic North America

Author, Emily St. John Mandel, of Station Eleven, the 2017 Life of the Mind book, visited UTK on Nov. 13 to discuss her novel with the community.

Emily St. John Mandel, author of the 2017 Life of the Mind novel Station Eleven, visited the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on Monday to discuss her book.

The Life of the Mind Project is a tradition at UTK where first year freshman enroll in an introductory style course unique to UTK as well as participate in a book study with an accompanying project.

“It’s really extraordinarily moving to see when somebody else does paintings or poetry or papers even based on books that I have written,” Mandel said.

Station Eleven is set in a post-apocalyptic North America where a deadly pandemic has wiped out majority of the population of the world and completely changed life as they know it. A group of artists known as The Traveling Symphony came together in this new world to distract themselves from the trauma of the past and keep music and theater alive. The novel follows the storyline of an actor, Arthur, who mysteriously dies during a production of King Lear before the pandemic as well as the story of a young actress, Kirsten, and her journey with the Symphony after the disease.

Mandel spoke about her research, the process she went through and how some of the things in the novel related back to parts of her own life including a setting being based on where she grew up in British Columbia.

After Mandel’s discussion, the audience was allowed to ask questions regarding the novel or Mandel’s life as a novelist.

What’s next for Mandel? 

“I’m writing a pre-apocalyptic novel about the aftermath of a massive Ponzi scheme. It is also about container shipping which I also get into a little bit in Station Eleven,” Mandel answered. “It’s almost done, and I think it will come out in late 2019.”

At the end of event, fans of the novel were invited to stay for a book signing with Mandel.

For more information on First Year Studies visit their website.  To learn more about Station Eleven visit Mandel’s website.


Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez

Featured image by Nima Kasraie

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