Episode 35: Stacy Schiff Unpacks the Hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials

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This week’s guest is the formidable Stacy Schiff. She’s the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) for which she won the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, and Cleopatra: A Life. Her latest book, The Witches: Salem, 1962, illuminates the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials which began in 1692, over a freezing Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an 75-year-old man crushed to death. Even some dogs were denounced as witches! As you will hear, Stacy spent years researching the book, and her knowledge on the subject flows out of her in the most thrilling and arresting manor. This book is a delicious companion for the coming winter snowy evenings, so I hope this conversation gets you in the mood.

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xoxox Angie

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Buy The Witches; Salem, 1692 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at your local independent book store now.

Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize, the Ambassador Award in American Studies, and the Gilbert Chinard Prize of the Institut Français d’Amérique. Cleopatra: A Life, won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for biography. A #1 bestseller, Cleopatra was translated into 30 languages. Her fourth book, The Witches, will be published in October 2015. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and was a Director’s Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She was awarded a 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2011 she was named a Library Lion by the New York Public Library. Schiff has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. She lives in New York City.