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Helen Benedict, author, "The Edge of Eden" and Columbia J-school prof

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Columbia Journalism School presents a conversation with HELEN BENEDICT, a professor who teaches literary nonfiction, among other courses here. We will discuss her latest novel, the art of narrative journalism and the intersection between novels and traditional reporting. ABOUT THE BOOK: Inspired by her parents' anthropological field notes, Benedict has set her fifth novel in 1960, on the tropical Seychelles Islands, a thousand miles off the eastern coast of Africa. Benedict's lush descriptions of life on the islands are firmly based in the realities of the time. The role of black magic in Seychelles culture, passed down from the country's past as a former slave colony, the decaying culture of British colonialism's last gasp -- these form the background of this witty, sharp and yet heartbreaking novel about a family unraveling and a child's desperate attempts to save it. Praise for The Edge of Eden: "An armchair traveler's delight, Benedict's novel is an amusingly poignant look at the British abroad in the spirit of Evelyn Waugh." (Publishers Weekly, Sept. 2009) More on her at http://helenbenedict.com