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.