Ruta Sepetys  [ USA ]


c Magda Starowieyska

Guest 2013, 2016.


Und in mir der unbesiegbare Sommer


Hamburg, 2011

[Ü: Henning Ahrens]

Out of the Easy


New York, 2013

Ruta Sepetys was born in 1967 in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest of three siblings. She studied opera at Hillsdale College, but then changed her major to international finances in which she achieved a BSc. She lived for a while in Europe, then worked in the music industry in Los Angeles for almost 15 years where she set up her own management agency for musicians in 1994. Following that she moved to Nashville, where she also worked in the music industry. Sepetys’ first novel »Between Shades of Gray« tells the story of the 15-year-old Lina who, together with her mother and brother, is arrested in 1941 by the Russian secret services and deported to Siberia along with ten thousand other Balts. There is still only very little public awareness of Stalin’s genocide of the Baltic people, one of the darkest hours in world history. Sepetys condenses the terrible atrocities of this time into a tense, emotional novel that is told using simple language which nevertheless possesses great literary power and achieves a careful balance between tragic moments and moments of hope. While the characters in the novel are purely fictional, the events are based on information about actual happenings which Sepetys gained from intense research and interviews she carried out with those who survived the genocide. She was first inspired to write »Between Shades of Gray« (2011) by the life story of her father, who left Lithuania as a young boy. The novel received euphoric acclaim in the international press and has been translated into 26 languages. In March 2013, Sepetys was invited as the first author of youth literature ever to speak in front of members of the European Parliament in Brussels. »Out of the Easy« (2013), Sepetys’ second novel, plays in 1950 in New Orleans, the city also known as »The Big Easy«. At the story’s centre we find 17-year-old Josie, who wants to make more of her life than her mother – a prostitute – has. However, following a mysterious death in her neighbourhood, Josie finds herself caught up in police investigations and her loyalty to her mother is put to the test. »Out of the Easy« is a dark novel about lies, secrets and above all about the consequences of the decisions we are often forced to make.

Like »Between Shades of Gray«, »Out of the Easy« received a very positive response from the press. Both novels were »New York Times« bestsellers. What is more, »Between Shades of Gray« was also nominated for the Carnegie Medal. 2013 Ruta Sepetys was decorated with the Cross of the Knight by the President of Lithuania for contributions to education and culture. She lives with her family in Nashville.


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