Announced yesterday!

October 13, 2011 in Uncategorized | Comments (2)

2011 National Book Award Finalist,


Deborah Baker
The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism
Graywolf Press


What drives a young woman raised in a postwar New York City suburb to convert to Islam, abandon her country and Jewish faith, and embrace a life of exile in Pakistan? The Convert tells the story of how Margaret Marcus of Larchmont became Maryam Jameelah of Lahore, one of the most trenchant and celebrated voices of Islam’s argument with the West. A cache of Maryam’s letters to her parents in the archives of The New York Public Library sends acclaimed biographer Deborah Baker on her own odyssey into the labyrinthine heart of twentieth-century Islam.


Deborah Baker’s first biography, written while she was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, was Making a Farm: The Life of Robert Bly, published by Beacon Press in 1982. After working for a number of years as a book editor and publisher, in 1990 she moved to Calcutta where she wrote In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography in 1994.  Her third book, A Blue Hand: The Beats in India, was published by Penguin Press USA and Penguin India in 2008. In 2008-2009 she was a Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis C. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at The New York Public Library. She divides her time between Brooklyn and Goa.


2 Responses to “Announced yesterday!”

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  1. Comment by VM — October 14, 2011 at 6:01 am   Reply


    And Viva re Viva again!

    A much-deserved honour for an utterly fantastic book. I will be writing a paean for it in Himal Mag shortly. Parabens to you (in the Goan manner) and to Debbie, of course.

    Also: when Deborah Baker wins the National Book Award, which is going to happen right now, you will have to throw a large, large, large party (in the Goan manner, of course).

    Looking forward very much!


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