2012: Maggie Shipstead, Seating Arrangements

Beating a ‘distinctive and dazzling path of her own’, Maggie Shipstead won the International Dylan Thomas Prize in 2012 with her debut novel Seating Arrangements. The novel also won the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction.

Maggie followed up the success of her debut with her second novel Astonish Me in 2014, turning her unique eye for characterisation and satire upon the world of professional ballet. She is currently writing a third novel, Great Circle, which will be published in 2021.

Maggie also continues to contribute to publications such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, and Condé Nast Traveler.

2012: Maggie Shipstead, Seating Arrangements

Synopsis - 'Seating Arrangements'

Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revellers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff. 

Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are side-swept by a storm of salacious misbehaviour and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of revelling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.


Maggie Shipstead - 2012 Winner

In this episode, Cultural Institute intern Niall Macgregor talks to award-winning writer Maggie Shipstead