When a photographer captures Marlene Dietrich, Anna May Wong and Leni Riefenstahl in one frame at a party in Berlin in 1928, no one realises the extent to which their lives will reflect the tumultuous decades that follow. Marlene crosses the Atlantic to find fame in Hollywood, the town that eats out of the palm of her hand till her wrinkles begin to show. After establishing her position as a filmmaker, Leni watches her fame turn to notoriety following the defeat of Nazi Germany. Nine and a half times out of ten films, the side characters played by Anna May must die so the white male lead can be returned to his white paramour on the screen. In the murky world these women navigate, their choices will be held up to the test of time. And the real question is, how much has anything changed?
This fierce and exquisite debut about womanhood, ambition, and art, played out against the shifting political tides of the twentieth century, introduces a mesmerising new literary talent for our times.
Born in Singapore and based in New York, Amanda Lee Koe's debut novel, Delayed Rays of A Star, is forthcoming from Doubleday (US) and Bloomsbury (UK). She holds an MFA from Columbia University's Writing Program, where she won the Henfield Prize, and is an honorary fellow of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program. Her first short story collection, Ministry of Moral Panic, won the Singapore Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Frankfurt Book Fair's LiBeraturpreis and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt's Internationaler Literaturpreis. She has guest-lectured at Yale and Goethe University, and her research interests include émigré literature, cultural representations of gender and sexuality, and modern German cinema.
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DATE AND TIME
31 Aug 2019, 2pm–3pm