23-08-16

Curtis Sittenfeld

 

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Elizabeth Curtis Sittenfeld werd geboren op 23 augustus 1975 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Zij bezocht de Seven Hills schook en vanaf de 8e klas Groton, een particuliere school in Groton (Massachusetts). Daarna studeerde ze eerst aan het Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, daarna aan de Stanford University in Stanford, Californië. Na de studie verhuisde Sittenfeld naar Charlotte (North Carolina), waar ze schreef voor de Charlotte Observer. Daarna werkte ze voor het Fast Comany tijdschrift in Boston en vervolgens nam zij deel aan de Writers Workshop aan de Universiteit van Iowa. Haar artikelen verschenen onder andere in The New York Times, The Washington Post en People. In 2005, publiceerde Curtis Sittenfeld haar debuutroman “Prep:” De roman vertelt de ervaringen van student Lee Fiora aan de fictieve Elite School Ault. The New York Times koos “Prep” tot de tien beste boeken van 2005. In haar roman “American Wife” uit 2008 schildert Sittenfeld een fictief portret van de voormalige first lady Laura Bush. In 2013 verscheen de roman “Sisterland” en in 2016 volgde “Eligible”. Sittenfelds boeken zijn vertaald in vijfentwintig talen.

Uit: Prep

“I think that everything, or at least the part of everything that happened to me, started with the Roman architecture mix-up. Ancient History was my first class of the day, occurring after morning chapel and roll call, which was not actually roll call but a series of announcements that took place in an enormous room with twenty-foot-high Palladian windows, rows and rows of desks with hinged tops that you lifted to store your books inside, and mahogany panels on the walls—one for each class since Ault’s founding in 1882—engraved with the name of every person who had graduated from the school. The two senior prefects led roll call, standing at a desk on a platform and calling on the people who’d signed up ahead of time to make announcements. My own desk, assigned alphabetically, was near the platform, and because I didn’t talk to my classmates who sat around me, I spent the lull before roll call listening to the prefects’ exchanges with teachers or other students or each other. The prefects’ names were Henry Thorpe and Gates Medkowski. It was my fourth week at the school, and I didn’t know much about Ault, but I did know that Gates was the first girl in Ault’s history to have been elected prefect.
The teachers’ announcements were straightforward and succinct: Please remember that your adviser request forms are due by noon on Thursday. The students’ announcements were lengthy—the longer roll call was, the shorter first period would be—and filled with double entendres: Boys’ soccer is practicing on Coates Field today, which, if you don’t know where it is, is behind the headmaster’s house, and if you still don’t know where it is, ask Fred. Where are you, Fred? You wanna raise your hand, man? There’s Fred, everyone see Fred? Okay, so Coates Field. And remember—bring your balls.
When the announcements were finished, Henry or Gates pressed a button on the side of the desk, like a doorbell, there was a ringing throughout the schoolhouse, and we all shuffled off to class. In Ancient History, we were making presentations on different topics, and I was one of the students presenting that day. From a library book, I had copied pictures of the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Baths of Diocletian, then glued the pictures onto a piece of poster board and outlined the edges with green and yellow markers. The night before, I’d stood in front of the mirror in the dorm bathroom practicing what I’d say, but then someone had come in, and I’d pretended I was washing my hands and left.”

 


Curtis Sittenfeld (Cincinnati, 23 augustus 1975)

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