Charlotte Rogan spent 25 years as a closet writer before The Lifeboat was published in 2012. The book was nominated for the Guardian first book award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Goldsboro Books and Historical Writers Association debut historical fiction prize. It was included on The Huffington Post’s 2015 list of “21 books from the last 5 years that every woman should read,” is in development as a motion picture starring Anne Hathaway, and has been translated into 26 languages. Rogan’s second novel, Now and Again, continues to explore issues of morality and justice.
“I was born in Mount Kisco, New York, moved every few years, easily absorbed the primary lesson of my early education, which was to tell people what they wanted to hear, was exposed to many mystifying church-based institutions but also to the majesty of nature, attended a strange and repressive boarding school, and found myself at Princeton University at the tail end of the Vietnam War.
At Princeton, I majored in architecture, a discipline that bridged the reliable world of formula and fact with a creative realm that left me exhilarated and unsure. I belonged to one of the first classes to admit women and was occasionally called on to give ‘the female point of view.’ This always left me wondering if I was letting my half of humanity down, but it was also my first inkling that opinions might be gender based.
After several semesters at various graduate schools, I took a job in the engineering department of a large construction firm in New York City. I loved to visit the upper floors of the skyscrapers I worked on, before the walls were up, when the building was nothing but a steel skeleton with concrete floors. Sometimes writing gives me the same feeling that there is nothing between me and the drop but air.
I write to ask questions, not to answer them. Writing is also my attempt at reverence—for the natural world, for the gift of language, and for the thing in people that will sometimes do the right thing in spite of the consequences to themselves and in spite of the cacophony of voices claiming privileged insight into what the right thing is.
I did not begin writing until my mid-thirties and had tucked four novels away in a drawer before The Lifeboat was published in 2012. After many years in Dallas and a year in South Africa, I now live in Westport, Connecticut.”
Charlotte’s Bookshelf is available for download as a PDF here.
This is a list of the most dog-eared books on my shelf. I have included books that astonished me, books that inspired me, and books that taught me how to write.
Charlotte Rogan on The Lifeboat
Publicity and Media: Carrie Neill
UK Publicity and Media: Zoe Hood
+44 (20) 7911 8070
Literary Agent: David McCormick
37 West 20th Street, #606
New York, NY 10011