Best-selling author Ruta Sepetys doesn’t write about fictional dystopian worlds — she writes about dystopian reality. Spanish baby-stealing. A German shipwreck that’s the largest in history. Soviet work camps. Historical fiction that reminds people about unbelievable stories that have been largely forgotten by the outside world.
In this conversation, Emily Siner interviews Ruta about why some of these epically interesting stories have been left out of our collective remembrance, and how she approaches telling histories that are not her own. (And, yes — we’ll also talk about what it was like having her first best-seller, Between Shades of Gray, confused with one of the most popular erotic novels of all time.)
Movers & Thinkers is a production of Nashville Public Radio. This episode was hosted and produced by Emily Siner, edited by Chas Sisk and Anita Bugg, and mastered by Carl Pederson. Find more in-depth interviews with fascinating Nashvillians at wpln.org/movers.
Ruta Sepetys is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author of historical fiction. Her debut novel, Between Shades of Gray, was hailed as “superlative” (New York Times Book Review) and “an engrossing and poignant story of the fortitude of the human spirit” (Associated Press). Her most recent novel, Fountains of Silence, was named the best YA book of 2019 by Entertainment Weekly. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist: Her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Her novels are published in more than 60 countries and 40 languages. Between Shades of Gray was adapted into the film Ashes in the Snow, and her other novels are currently in development for TV and film. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is passionate about the power of history and literature to foster global awareness and connectivity. She lives with her family in Nashville.