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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Jul 16, 2008

Jennifer Haigh is a novelist and short story writer (especially for Granta) whose latest novel at the time of this interview was 'The Condition'. In this interview with Claudia Cragg, Ms. Haigh discusses this new work which relates the story of a dysfunctional New England family struggling toward normalcy with  the children of a resentful, controlling mother, Paulette, and a distracted, needy father Frank. Even during a childhood in idyllic Cape Cod, there are hints of a rocky future. At the core of this are explorations in fine prose of the family, identity, gender and rebellion, all woven masterfully into a compelling tale.

Ms Haigh also discusses her literary influences, the way she writes (in long hand for novels), her own family and the tendency of old boyfriends to try and spot themselves in her work.

Her first book, Mrs. Kimble, won the 2004 PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. Her second, Baker Towers, was a New York Times bestseller and won the 2006 PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author. Both have been published in nine languages. Other fiction has been published in Granta, Ploughshares, Five Points, Good Housekeeping and other places. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Jennifer Haigh is a graduate of Dickinson College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She now lives in the Boston area but says she "doesn't get out much". She maintains a large, lively circle of imaginary friends.