Please join us on Sunday, April 15 at 5 pm, at the Stonington Free Library when Ellen Litman will speak about “Becoming an American.” She is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Connecticut, specializing in 20th-Century American and Ethnic American Literature, including immigrant narratives; the Russian Novel; and Creative Writing. She is also the author of two novels: The Last Chicken in America: A Novel in Stories and Mannequin Girl.
When Litman was 19, she and her family emigrated to the United States from Moscow when the rise of anti-Semitic nationalist parties convinced her parents it was time to leave. They moved to Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh. This neighborhood of Russian immigrants is the setting of her debut novel in which she conveys what it was like for her young protagonist Masha to find her way in America, as Litman herself had to do. Her second novel Mannequin Girl is about another outsider, this time in her own country, who struggles with scoliosis in a culture that would rather commit the disabled to state-run institutions. Her novels, called nostalgic, humorous, warm, wry, and original, have won national acclaim.
Litman, a member of an emerging group of Russian emigre writers, is part of a generation that has been dubbed “born in Russia, made in America.”