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Media Center: ‘Follies of God’ by James Grissom

February 26th, 2015

WHO: Tennessee Williams

WHAT: FOLLIES OF GOD:
Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog
by James Grissom

WHEN: Published by Knopf March 6, 2015

WHERE: The author lives in New York

WHY: “One of America’s greatest playwrights as seen by himself and his many muses. An original and compelling portrait.” —KIRKUS, a starred review


“A masterful biography. An overwhelmingly rich, touching, and potent exploration of what it means to be an artist, a success and a failure, and a human being. This astonishing book will touch and captivate readers.”
—Eloise Kinney, in a starred review for BOOKLIST

“A uniquely personal blend of road trip and literary history.
‘Be my witness.’ This was Tennessee Williams’s unexpected response to Grissom, who had written to the playwright looking for advice as a college-aged aspiring writer from Baton Rouge in 1982. Grissom proceeded to spend several days in New Orleans with the great writer, recording the older man’s reminiscences in notebooks. Desperate to know that he still mattered, Williams made Grissom swear to seek out and talk to the women who had most shaped his work and life. In 1988, years after Williams’s death, Grissom began to seek out these names and make good on his promise.
“The cast is a memorable one: earthy Maureen Stapleton; delicate but determined Jessica Tandy; the two Kims, Hunter and Stanley; and even the inimitable Katherine Hepburn. In a series of conversations by turns philosophical, pragmatic, funny, and devastating, all discuss their lives, craft, and the art of surviving.
Jacket photo“Grissom has succeeded in creating a kaleidoscopic meditation on the people that entered Williams’s imagination—’the fog’—to become his signature characters.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY


From the beginning of the book: “Perhaps you can be of some help to me.” These were the first words Tennessee Williams spoke to me in the initial phone call to my parents’ home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was September of 1982, a fact I noted in a small blue book. The book was new and had been purchased for an upcoming test in World History that I would not be taking because Tennessee invited me to lunch in New Orleans, and I accepted.

Author photo
Media Resources:
About the book | About the author | Advance praise | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Publicist for this title:
Kathy Zuckerman | 212-572-2105 | kzuckerman@penguinrandomhouse.com