Author Stories Podcast Episode 824 | Katrin Schumann Interview

Today’s author interview guest is Katrin Schumann, author of This Terrible Beauty.

From the bestselling author of The Forgotten Hours comes an unforgettable story of one woman’s journey to reclaim what she lost in a country torn apart by the devastating legacy of WWII.

On the windswept shores of an East German island, Bettina Heilstrom struggles to build a life from the ashes. World War II has ended, and her country is torn apart. Longing for a family, she marries Werner, an older bureaucrat who adores her. But after joining the fledgling secret police, he is drawn deep into its dark mission and becomes a dangerous man.

When Bettina falls in love with an idealistic young renegade, Werner discovers her infidelity and forces her to make a terrible choice: spend her life in prison or leave her home forever. Either way she loses both her lover and child.

Ten years later, Bettina has reinvented herself as a celebrated photographer in Chicago, but she’s never stopped yearning for the baby she left behind. Surprised by an unexpected visitor from her past, she resolves to return to her ravaged homeland to reclaim her daughter and uncover her beloved’s fate, whatever the cost.

About Katrin Schumann:
I was born in Germany and grew up in Brooklyn and London—as a consequence, most of my writing explores our search for a sense of belonging, and the struggle to define ourselves in the context of our circumstances. I now live in Boston and Key West, and am the Program Coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar and Workshops.

My forthcoming novel This Terrible Beauty has been called “luminous and unflinching,” “unputdownable,” and “hard to forget.” It’s a love story about a young woman in 1950s East Germany who is forced to choose between her family and her freedom. Set on an island in the Baltic, it explores the collision of art, love and power in a totalitarian state. It was chosen by SheReads as among the “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction in 2020.”

My previous novel, The Forgotten Hours—”gut-wrenching,” a “brilliant debut” with a “heart-pounding finish”—was a Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller. I’m also the author of several nonfiction books.

My work has been featured multiple times on TODAY and in Woman’s Day, The London Times and on NPR, as well as other national and international media. For the past ten years I’ve been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and at local prisons through PEN New England. Many moons ago, I was granted the Kogan Media Award for my work at National Public Radio and received academic scholarships to Oxford and Stanford Universities. More recently, I’ve been awarded writing residencies at the VCCA, the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and Vermont Studio Center.

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