Chabon Elected as MacDowell Chair; Updates on New Book

Michael Chabon was elected chairman of the board of directors of MacDowell Colony, a prominent retreat for artists and writers in Peterborough, New Hampshire that both he and his wife, Ayelet Waldman, have frequented often.

Chabon succeeds Robert MacNeil, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week. In an interview with the Journal, Chabon said he began frequenting the colony around the time he was working on “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.”

“There I was with one child and trying to write this novel and beginning to struggle in a way that a lot of writers who are parents struggle,” he said. “I went in 1995 for a three-week stay. Instead of getting one-thousand words done –- and if I get one-thousand words, I feel heroic –- I was getting two, three, sometimes four-thousand words in a day.”

Chabon also told the Journal that he is trying to turn his next novel, Telegragh Avenue, in to his publisher in 2011.

I’m working on a novel that I started at the MacDowell colony a couple of years ago, actually. I’m going to try to turn it in 2011. It’s called “Telegraph Avenue.” Chabon said he began work on it “a couple of years ago” at MacDowell. He told the Miami Hurricane last year that it is “set in contemporary Berkeley and Oakland” and is “a family story, I guess.”

“Telegraph Avenue” was also the name of a pilot script Chabon worked on for TNT some years ago that he has said was “the story of two families, white and black, in Oakland and Berkeley, CA.”