Emily St. John Mandel Comes to SMU

On Sept. 9, common reading author Emily St. John Mandel came to SMU. McFarlin Auditorium was filled with students and members of the Dallas community, all excited to hear about the Station Eleven universe from the woman who created it. To start off the evening, Mandel discussed her book and answered a few audience questions. After singing books, Mandel came to Dr. Ann Batenburg’s (Virginia-Snider’s FiR) apartment for dinner. There some honors students, chosen by a random drawing, got to mingle with Mandel for the rest of the evening. Here are some of the coolest revelations from the lecture.

Why Shakespeare? How I Met Your Mother and Seinfeld didn’t fit, even though they were in the original story outline. Shakespeare’s work is honest and relevant to the people after the Georgia Flu takes away the modern world. Additionally, plague encircled his life- meaning his work was touched by the same things that shaped the fictional flu survivors.

Main character? There isn’t one. But if there had to be, it certainly isn’t Arthur (who Mandel referred to as “the black hole everyone revolves around”). 

Trekkie? Though Mandel did enjoy Star Trek, the term “trekkie” isn’t how she’d describe herself. The quote “survival is insufficient” is used primarily because of it’s eloquence and direct tie to the Symphony’s purpose.

The original concept was about an actor (Arthur) who worked in a traveling theatre company in Canada. Because this story was set pre-apocalyptic, Mandel said it would have been pretty boring.  

Courtesy of Amazon

On Sunday, September 20, Shakespeare Dallas will perform King Lear. There is free transportation to the event leaving from the flagpole at 6:30 p.m. Contact your FiR or Dr. Doyle for more information. SMU student tickets are $5.

Fan of Station Eleven? Mandel has three other books that could be your new favorite.

The Lola Quartet

The Singer’s Gun

Last Night in Montreal

Feature Image: Courtesy of SMU