“As much as I love writing (the verb), I probably love writing (the noun) even more. I doubt anyone becomes a serious novelist who doesn’t love reading: savoring paragraphs that precisely capture longing or dread or desire. Being riveted by a plot twist that is utterly surprising but, you realize, perfect, because it was inevitable.”
Critically-acclaimed novelist Chris Bohjalian’s works explore contemporary social issues and the ways in which they play themselves out in the lives of ordinary people. His writing covers such controversial topics as midwifery, gender reassignment surgery, animal rights, homelessness, domestic violence, human trafficking, and the personal, moral, and ethical dilemmas that arise from them. He is the author of 18 books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. His work has been translated into over 30 languages, and three of his books have become movies.
Midwives, Bohjalian’s fifth book, received widespread acclaim and was an Oprah Book Club pick. It tells the story of Sibyl Dansforth, an experienced midwife who performs a cesarean section on a woman who has stopped breathing to save her unborn infant. However, it turns out that the woman may not have been dead at the time, and Sibyl must go on trial for involuntary manslaughter. Michelle Green of People calls Midwives “a superbly crafted and astonishingly powerful novel.” Publishers Weekly comments that “readers will find themselves mesmerized by the irresistible momentum of the narrative and by Bohjalian’s graceful and lucid, irony-laced prose.”
In his novel The Sandcastle Girls, Bohjalian explores the Armenian genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the First World War. The genocide is seen from the perspective of Elizabeth Endicott, who joins her father in traveling to Aleppo, Syria, to provide aid to deported Armenians. There she falls in love with Armen Petrosian, an Armenian engineer searching for his wife and child despite being certain they are dead.
Publishers Weekly says that “Bohjalian’s storytelling makes this a beautiful, frightening, and unforgettable read.” “Bohjalian powerfully narrates an intricately nuanced romance,” writes Julie Kane in Library Journal. “This is not to be missed. Simply astounding.”
The instant New York Times bestseller The Guest Room tells the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room, two women are on the run from police, and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams. The Miami Herald praises The Guest Room as “combining an explosive premise, a timely social topic, and fast-paced storytelling with a purpose.”
“[The Guest Room] couples the urgency of a compulsively readable crime thriller with a quiet meditation on the meaning of family and relationships; the painstaking, quotidian, essential business of how we win love, and how swiftly we can lose it.”
Bohjalian followed up the success of The Guest Room with another instant New York Times bestseller—The Sleepwalker, a suspenseful novel that Harlan Coben has called “more than a mystery: it’s a beautiful, wrenching novel of family secrets and the enigmas that link husbands and wives and lovers.” This “stylish fusion of mystery and domestic thriller” (Publishers Weekly) follows the disappearance of a wife and mother who vanished from her bed late one night, prompting her family to assume it was a result of the same sleepwalking parasomnia that has afflicted her for years and manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. “A perfectly crafted surprise ending,” says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of the book, which is also a USA Today bestseller. “Bohjalian succeeds in making us accomplices in a dark world we never knew existed.”
Bohjalian’s books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.
His awards include the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia’s Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel Midwives was a number-one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Bohjalian has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader’s Digest, and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He was a weekly columnist in Vermont for the Burlington Free Press from 1992 to 2015.
Bohjalian graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Amherst College and lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer.
For more information about Chris Bohjalian, please visit www.chrisbohjalian.com/.