A Conversation with
Amor Towles, author
Elaine Newton, Ph.D., host, Professor Emeritus of Humanities at York University, Toronto
Elaine Newton hosts a conversation with Amor Towles, bestselling author of Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow, about his latest book, The Lincoln Highway. Towles’ first two novels have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than 30 languages. Called a “master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction,” Towles’ stylish and propulsive third novel set in 1950s America, “will satisfy fans of his multilayered literary styling while providing them with an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters and themes.”
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Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. His thesis at Stanford, a short story cycle called The Temptations of Pleasure, was published in 1989 in The Paris Review 112.
Towles’s first novel, Rules of Civility, which was published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011. The book has been translated into 15 languages, its French translation receiving the 2012 Prix Fitzgerald. In the fall of 2012, the novel was optioned by Lionsgate to be made into a feature film.
Towles’s second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, which was published in 2016, was on the New York Times bestseller list for over 20 weeks in hardcover and was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. The book is being translated into over 20 languages, including Russian.
Having worked as an investment professional for over 20 years, Towles now devotes himself fulltime to writing in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and two children.
Elaine Newton, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of humanities at York University, Toronto, Canada. She has taught courses in literary theory and methodology, contemporary fiction, psychology and literature and archetypal criticism. Elaine was one of the founders of York University’s advising program and its much-emulated faculty of education. She is a recipient of the province of Ontario’s Teaching Award in recognition of excellence in university teaching and, in 1984, received a citation as Toronto’s Outstanding Professor. In 1996, she was the recipient of the university-wide Teaching Award. She has held appointments as professor of literature at Carlton University, Ottawa; University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Sydney, Australia, Victoria University and the University of Otago, New Zealand. She has lectured throughout Canada and the US, London, Hong Kong, Zurich and Caracas. In 1992, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh’s Semester-at-Sea. Elaine retains an abiding commitment to adult education and the role of the university in the wider community.
For over 40 years, Elaine has planned and conducted adult education courses throughout North America. This is the 30th year that she has presented our literature series Critic’s Choice and the 24th year she has presented Four O’clock at the Movies. She also initiated and taught the pioneering Artis—Naples seminar discussion program, the Questors, for 12 years. Elaine has worked as a book critic for Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, been a special consultant to the Ontario Library Association, led movie and theater discussions and served as a consultant to the North York Board of Education. She continues to conduct an annual lecture series at the Toronto Public Library and makes frequent guest appearances on TV and radio. Elaine has an enthusiastic and loyal following each season as she offers insightful commentary about contemporary fiction and motion pictures.