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Maggie Shipstead celebrates her 'Seating Arrangements' [video]

April 28, 2013|By Alice Short

This month, author Maggie Shipstead won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction at the L.A. Times Book Prizes. The title of her book? "Seating Arrangements." The back story? A wedding and all the attendant festivities, with a father of the bride who is experiencing emotions -- lust, anger, despair -- he did not anticipate.

Chatting during a video interview at the Times Festival of Books the next day, Shipstead explained that the book started out as a short story she wrote in graduate school.

The buzz on the book started early. The New York Times proclaimed "Seating Arrangements" to be a "smart and frothy debut novel." The setting is on a “perfect John Cheever island -- the kind where old-money families gather to drink gin and nurture loyalties. Beneath the surface of this summery romp, however, lie animosities, well-paced sexual suspense and a clash between appearances and authenticity.... Shipstead writes satirically and lavishly about a certain privileged social stratum.”

To hear more about “Seating Arrangements,” watch the video above.

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