September 18, 2019

Years back, I had the honor of meeting author Laura Lippman at one of the National Press Club’s Book Fairs. She had just left her job reporting for the Baltimore Sun and one of her first novels had just been released. Since, Lippman has penned more than two dozen books, including a crime series based in her hometown of Baltimore. Mostly recently, Lippman has released a stand-alone novel set in Baltimore in the 1960s which addresses the racism and gender issues of that time, and a collection of personal essays.

Lippman delivers candor across the board: about unpleasant history in her books, about her own life and perspective in her essays, and about the rest of the world during interviews.

“Lady in the Lake,” her latest novel

As much as in some ways I identify with Maddie [the title character, a mid-30s, divorced Jewish woman trying to earn a spot reporting for the local paper], I would say Maddie is the person I fear becoming — the person who’s only interested in the story she wants to tell and sometimes forgets about the humanity of the people around her, because she’s so focused on her life and herself.  ~ In an interview with Angela Haupt for The Washington Post

Lippman admits that Maddie, despite similarities, is not a heroine she admires. Purposefully, she wrote Maddie to be a faulted, human character.

Her personal essays

I just wanted to tell my story about it because I thought it was funny and specific, and no one else could tell it.  ~ In a segment with host Terry Gross for FRESH AIR on NPR

In her essays Lippman shares the personal moments, challenges and humor of her wedding and marriage to David Simon (also a former reporter, a novelist, and television writer and producer), and becoming a mother for the first time at age 51.

On President Trump

When it comes to the criticism of the media, I hold the president of the United States responsible for a coarsening of rhetoric that has empowered and emboldened people… ~ FRESH AIR, NPR

And I tell people, of course, I think rhetoric matters. Of course, I think words matter.  ~FRESH AIR on NPR

Lippman is a New York Times best-selling author and has won several prominent writing awards: an Edgar (Allen Poe) Award given by the Mystery Writers of America, several Anthony Awards (specific to mystery writers), Agatha (Christie) Award for writers of of mystery and crime, Nero (Wolfe) Award for excellence in mystery, Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel, Barry Award for excellence in crime fiction, Gumshoe Award for achievements in crime fiction, Shamus Award given by the Private Eye Writers of America, and a Quill Award for mystery/suspense/thriller. Lippman earns this month’s profile nod because she is a local author I really enjoy reading, and that’s likely because of her candor.