Emily St. John Mandel is a Canadian award-winning author that is best known for ‘Station Eleven’, a novel that follows a troupe of actors traversing a post-apocalyptic setting. Mandel was born in 1979 in Comox, British Columbia.
Order of Emily St John Mandel Standalone Novels
Her childhood was spent on Denman island. She eventually attended The School of Toronto Dance Theatre where she studied contemporary dance. While she did not pursue it further, dance helped her develop the self-discipline she needed to become a published author. Mandel has mentioned in interviews and conversations that writers must force themselves to sit at their desks and write.
Work is a prominent aspect of her stories because it is so important to her life. The author was 18 when she left home to study contemporary dance. She eventually migrated to New York City where survival was a far more difficult undertaking than she expected.
At eighteen, Mandel had to learn to support herself. That meant trying her hand at a number of jobs. She has spoken of the period she spent doing janitorial work, restocking shelves and the like. The work was hard.
Fortunately, Mandel was a hard worker. She was ready and willing to do whatever was asked of her to earn her wages. Though, she admits that people made things particularly difficult. Her female bosses were especially abusive. She understood that they grew up in a time where women were expected to manifest tough exteriors to survive in male-dominated fields.
This allowed the author to sympathize with their plight. But she also found the environment they created intolerable regardless of whether they were antagonizing her or simply screaming at a co-worker.
Suffice it to say, those early days were not kind to the author. Her situation was not improved by the fact that she thought she was an undocumented immigrant living illegally in the US. Even though her father was American, Mandel was born in Canada.
The writer’s father was convinced that he had surrendered his American citizenship when he made the move to Canada. As such, when Mandel came to the US, she was convinced that she was an undocumented immigrant.
This affected the circles in which she moved and the jobs she took. She remembers getting her payments in cash stuffed in envelopes. She also spent a lot of time looking for ways to get her green card. She was 22 when she came to the realization that her father’s origins automatically granted her American citizenship.
These experiences and more have informed the stories Emily St. John Mandel writes. Writing has always been part of her life. As a child, she spent far too much time by herself in the woods reading. Over time, she developed an overactive imagination that fueled her passion for writing fiction.
The isolation wasn’t necessarily her fault. She was homeschooled until the age of 15. While she had written three novels before, ‘Station Eleven’ was the first book to place the author on the literary map.
After writing literary fiction for so long and working with smaller publishers, the author finally decided to write a more commercially viable story, one that would appeal to a bigger publisher.
Emily St. John Mandel Awards
The author has been nominated for a Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She won the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
Best Emily St. John Mandel Books
Mandel has been commended for her intriguing characters and beautiful language, with some of the best books in her bibliography including:
Station Eleven: This novel takes readers to a post-apocalyptic future. It starts in the past and chronicles the events that follow the death of a famous Hollywood actor who slumps over on stage during a King Lear production. Then it jumps fifteen years into the future and follows a theater troupe that roams a desolate wasteland.
Last Night in Montreal: Lilia Albert leaves broken hearts wherever she goes. She keeps changing identities, traveling to a new city and leaving every lover she meets behind. Even as an adult, the early childhood she can never remember still haunts her.
Her restlessness is exacerbated by the private detective that has chased her for years and who might still be after her. When Lilia flees to New York, she has no idea that something has changed. This time, someone from New York, a determined lover, has followed her to Montreal. Nothing will stop him from unraveling the mystery that is Lilia.
When Does The Next Emily St John Mandel book come out?
Emily St John Mandel doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is The Glass Hotel and was released on March, 24th 2020.