Friday, November 16, 2018

Dawn Raffel

Dawn Raffel is a journalist, memoirist, and short story writer whose work has been widely anthologized. A longtime magazine editor, she helped launch O, The Oprah Magazine. She has also taught creative writing in the MFA program at Columbia University; at Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia; Montreal; and Vilnius, Lithuania; and at the Center for Fiction in New York. She now works as an independent editor and book reviewer.

Raffel's new book is The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you learn about Martin Couney, and at what point did you decide to write a book about him?

A: I thought I was going to write a novel set at the Chicago world's fair of 1933-34, and was doing some research when I stumbled across an eye-popping photo of the incubator sideshow. I found it extraordinarily strange--on first sight, a mashup of voyeurism, commerce, and the commodification of human life.

Then I discovered that this same doctor was also on Coney Island for 40 years. That did it. I put aside the novel in order to get to the bottom of this story, which turned out to be very different from what I had imagined. What had at first appeared to be exploitation turned out to be...[read on]
Visit Dawn Raffel's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Strange Case of Dr. Couney.

--Marshal Zeringue