Diana Altman is the author of Hollywood East: Louis B. Mayer and the origins of the studio system (Carol Publishing, ’92) a nonfiction book still quoted in movie star biographies and books of film history. She was a guest on TV’s Entertainment Tonight. Her award-winning novel In Theda Bara’s Tent (Tapley Cove Press, 2010) was described as “sophisticated storytelling” by Library Journal and as “enthralling” by PW. Her novel We Never Told will be published by SWP in June, 2019. Her short stories have appeared in Trampset, The Notre Dame Review, StoryQuarterly, and Cumberland River Review. Articles have appeared in the New York Times, Yankee, Boston Herald, Forbes, Moment, and elsewhere. Diana is a member of PEN, The Author’s Guild, and the Women’s National Book Association. She is a graduate of Connecticut College and Harvard University and lives in New York City.
We Never Told: Set in an era when unwed mothers were shamed and pressured into giving their newborns away, We Never Told is a slice of America when the Hollywood lifestyle was at its height. That era still haunts us today, because those babies did not disappear; they grew up and went searching. Sonya is determined to unearth her glamorous mother’s secret, but when she finally does, she discovers something much worse than those around her ever could have imagined.
Books by Her:
In Theda Bara’s Tent (2010)
We Never Told (2019)
Last book read:
The Rise of David Levinsky by Abraham Cahan
The book that changed your life:
Shakespeare’s Plays, a collection. No better writing exists.
Your favorite literary character:
The narrator in The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. A tour de force in point of view. We’re stuck in the mind of a butler who doesn’t understand anything. We see him making mistake after mistake and can only hope that he wakes up at last and he does, but too late. If you’ve only seen the movie, try to get it out of your head and read the novel. The movie should be banned because you’re looking AT him rather than being inside his head.
Currently working on:
A novel about an ungainly woman who can never rely on her looks or feminine charm to succeed. Competent and generous, she is the victim of circumstances again and again. Set in the American West in the wild days of Pancho Villa, my heroine from Lithuania arrives in Galveston, Texas, speaking only Yiddish.
Words to live by:
Shame is corrosive.
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
If you give up it’s because you weren’t meant to do it. Try something else. There are lots of things that are fun and you can be outdoors when you do them.
Articles / Reviews:
Forbes – “A Married Name Without The Hyphen”
Forbes – “Are You Looking at Me?”
Diana Altman’s We Never Told is a witty, insightful, compelling novel about a woman’s journey to unlock a family secret that is burning a hole in her life. The deftly told story offers a fresh look at the way childhood myths cast shadows on adult life. This book grabbed me from the first page and never disappointed me. – –Nancy Newman, author, Disturbing The Peace
In its finely observed depiction of family dynamics, We Never Told reminds me of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping or Richard Ford’s Canada. This is a compelling novel that deserves to be widely read. – – Graham Hillard, editor of the Cumberland River Review
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