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Lee Kravetz with Elsa Hart: The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.

Lee Kravetz with Elsa Hart: The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.

Friday, March 11, 2022 - 7:00PM ET
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Celebrate the release of The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. with author Lee Kravetz, in conversation with Elsa Hart!

The Last Confessions of Sylvia P.

“Lee Kravetz has created a bit of a miracle, a plot-driven literary puzzle box whose mystery lives in both its winding approach to history and its wondrous story. It’s a book full of ideas about inspiration and a love for language that translates across borders, physical and generational.”—Adam Johnson, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Orphan Master's Son

Blending past and present, and told through three unique interwoven narratives that build on one another, a daring and brilliant debut novel that re-imagines a chapter in the life of Sylvia Plath, telling the story behind the creation of her classic semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar.

A seductive literary mystery and mutigenerational story inspired by true events, The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. imaginatively brings into focus the period of promise and tragedy that marked the writing of Sylvia Plath’s modern classic The Bell Jar. Lee Kravetz uses a prismatic narrative formed from three distinct fictional perspectives to bring Plath to life—that of her psychiatrist, a rival poet, and, years later, a curator of antiquities.

Estee, a seasoned curator for a small Massachusetts auction house, makes an astonishing find: the original manuscript of Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, written by hand in her journals fifty-five years earlier. Vetting the document, Estee will discover she’s connected to Plath’s legacy in an unexpected way.

Plath’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ruth Barnhouse, treats Plath during the dark days she spends at McLean Hospital following a suicide attempt, and eventually helps set the talented poet and writer on a path toward literary greatness.

Poet Boston Rhodes, a malicious literary rival, pushes Plath to write about her experiences at McLean, tipping her into a fatal spiral of madness and ultimately forging her legacy.

Like Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, and Theresa Anne Fowler’s Z: A Novel of Zelda FitzgeraldThe Last Confessions of Sylvia P. bridges fact and fiction to imagine the life of a revered writer.

Lee Kravetz teaches fiction and nonfiction at San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, has lectured at Stanford University’s Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program and UC Berkeley’s Creative Writing Program, and is cofounder of the Lit Camp Writers Conference with collaborators Jonathan Lethem, Adam Johnson, Andrew Sean Greer, Paul Harding and Janis Cooke Newman. The author of two nonfiction books (Strange Contagion and Supersurvivors with David B. Feldman), Lee has also written for print and TV outlets including The New York TimesNew York MagazineThe Atlantic and Sesame Street. Lee has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, has held positions at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, The National Center for PTSD, and Stanford University Hospital. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and children.

Moderator Elsa Hart is the author of four acclaimed historical mystery novels set in China and England in the early 18th century. Her third, City of Ink, was one of Publishers Weekly’s best books of 2018. Her fourth, The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne, was the 2021 winner of the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award.