Charlotte Rogan ’75 has written fiction for 25 years, but her first published novel, The Lifeboat, did not reach shelves until earlier this month. The author’s persistence seems to be paying handsome rewards: After earning several positive reviews and a spot on the British bookseller Waterstones’ list of the top debut novels of 2012, The Lifeboat has sailed into the No. 12 position of the New York Times Fiction Best Sellers.
Set in 1914 and narrated by a 22-year-old woman named Grace, the novel tells the story of a group of people who spend three weeks at sea after a mysterious explosion on an ocean liner. The New York Review of Books called the book “an enthralling story of survival at sea,” while The Guardian praised it as “a fascinating portrait of a determined, free-thinking young woman, and an inquiry into the puzzle of personality.”
Rogan majored in architecture at Princeton and worked in construction engineering before discovering her talent for creative writing in her 30s. The Lifeboat emerged over the course of a decade.
“The message to other unpublished writers is to stick with it,” Rogan told PAW’s Katherine Federici Greenwood. “It can happen.”
Read more about Rogan and The Lifeboat in the May 16 issue of PAW.
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