A conversation with Rivka Galchen about her new novel, Everyone Knows your Mother is a Witch, with Ulinka Rublack.
Rivka Galchen’s novel, published this summer, about the witchcraft trial of Katharina Kepler was described by the Wall Street Journal as “a very beautiful work of fiction” and the LA Times as “a smart book that investigates the power of narrative… while being funny and deceptively easy to read.” Galchen re-imagines the world of the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years War, concentrating on the herbal remedies, troubled friendships, and worldly tribulations of the mother of the astronomer Johannes Kepler. To discuss the book and the case, as well as the challenges of rendering difficult histories in artistic forms, Galchen will be joined by Professor Ulinka Rublack of Cambridge University, whose book on the trial and its implications for the history of science and magic, the Reformation, and women’s lives, was an important source. Rublack also created an opera, Kepler’s Trial, on the subject.
Rivka Galchen is the author of the novel Atmospheric Disturbances, the short-story collection American Innovations, the essay Little Labors, and the children’s book Rat Rule 79. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards and is a regular contributor of essays, reviews, and fiction to The London Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Yorker. She lives in New York and Montreal and teaches in the writing program at Columbia University.
Ulinka Rublack, FBA, is a professor in early modern European history and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. She is editor of The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations; her other books include Dürer in the Age of Wonder and The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler’s Fight for His Mother, which won the Deutsche Historikerpreis. Her current project, The Triumph of Fashion, charts the rise of fashion in different parts of the globe from 1300 onwards. During the academic year 2021-2 she is a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin.