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Indie Next Pick for July 2017

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Winner of the University of Iowa’s Krause Essay Prize

A book-length essay on the mime Marcel Marceau, informed by interviews with his students, closely observed performances, and archival research. Remarkably innovative in structure and style, the book employs lists, prose poems, syllabi, a travel itinerary, a catalog of his possessions, and more. A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause is a celebration of Marceau's transcendent creation.

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photo credit Jana Ašenbrennerová

photo credit Jana Ašenbrennerová

Shawn Wen is a writer, radio producer, and multimedia artist. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, Seneca Review, Iowa Review, White Review, and the anthology City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis (Faber and Faber, 2015). Her radio work has broadcast on This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, and Marketplace, and she is currently a producer at Youth Radio. Her video work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Camden International Film Festival, and the Carpenter Center at Harvard University. She holds a BA from Brown University and is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Professional Journalism Training Fellowship and the Royce Fellowship. Wen was born in Beijing, raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, and currently resides in San Francisco.

A unique, poetic critical appreciation of Marcel Marceau. . . . A fascinating book. . . . Readers will marvel not only at Marceau, but at the book itself, which displays such command of the material and such perfect pitch.
Kirkus Review, starred review
Effectively pays homage to both the history of mime and its solitary master, Marcel Marceau. . . . Wen crafts diamond-cut paragraphs that place the reader in Marceau’s enthralled audiences. . . . These invaluable descriptions by a writer versed in the tradition of making the nonvisible vibrant should be read slowly and with the same seemingly effortless focus Marceau gave to his art.
Booklist, starred review
[Shawn] Wen’s whimsical ode to Marcel Marceau showcases the performer’s determination to ‘fill the blank spaces’ with a silence that stirs.
O, The Oprah Magazine, "10 Titles to Pick Up Now"
[Shawn] Wen’s whimsical ode to Marcel Marceau showcases the performer’s determination to ‘fill the blank spaces’ with a silence that stirs.
The Men's Journal, "The Seven Best Books of July"