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.”

Chabon Discusses Next Book

More details about Michael Chabon’s next novel leaked out during a talk he gave Monday in San Francisco.

During the Q&A session, Chabon said he was writing a “naturalistic” novel about two families in Berkeley, author Frances Dinkelspiel wrote on her blog. Dinelspiel speculates that Chabon’s previous writings on Berkeley may suggest what themes may appear in the book, including suburban homogenization.

Chabon previously has said the novel would be set in and around the contemporary Bay Area. “I would like to get a new novel going,” Chabon said during a chat hosted by The Washington Post in 2007. “I would like it to be set in the present day and feel right now the urge to do something more mainstream than my recent work has been.”

The novel has been reported to be tentatively scheduled for 2011.

Chabon also gave an update on the film adaptations of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. The latter has finally found a distributer and should hit theaters sometime in the future, Dinelspiel says. Kavalier & Clay, on the other hand, “is not going anywhere,” she reports.

Chabon Talks About New Book

Michael Chabon shed some more light on his next book, saying “a lot of the same concerns, themes, motifs, and even to some degree conventions, that I have been exploring in my recent work will find their way into this book.”

In an interview with science fiction magazine Locus, Chabon says the new book will take place in Oakley and Berkeley, a place he says he loves and “it turns out I actually know a lot about.” The novel appears to be the same untitled Bay Area novel that Chabon, which is set to come out around 2011.

“I want to write another novel for younger readers and I know what that’s going to be, but I just felt that it had been since Wonder Boys in the early ’90s that I had written a novel set in consensus reality — modern-day America — and I missed it,” Chabon said.

The full interview appears in the August issue of Locus.

Chabon Signs 2-Book Deal

Michael Chabon has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins, Publishers Weekly reports.

The first one, tentatively scheduled for spring 2009, will be Chabon’s first nonfiction book. In it, he will discuss what it’s like being a man in terms of being a son, a father and a husband.

The second book, scheduled for 2011 publication, would be set in and around the contemporary Bay Area. Chabon has said that he “would like it to be set in the present day and feel right now the urge to do something more mainstream than my recent work has been.”